MADISON, Wis. - Move over Ken Barnes and step aside Michael Finley, for there's a new sheriff in town.
Frank Kaminsky became Wisconsin's record holder for most points scored in a single game when he netted 43 points in Tuesday night's 103-85 victory over North Dakota. Barnes (vs. Indiana, 3/8/1965) and Finley (at Eastern Michigan, 12/10/1994) previously held the record, each with 42 points.
"That's an awesome thing to be up there," Kaminsky said of what it means to be the record holder. "Michael Finley is an Illinois guy and I heard a lot about him growing up and to beat his record is a surreal thing and it's a great feeling. I still have a lot of games left, so maybe it can happen again."
Kaminsky was 16-of-19 from the field, including 6-of-6 from three-point range, and 5-for-6 from the free throw line.
Coming out of the gate hot, Kaminsky started the game 4-for-5 to give himself 11 points in the first nine minutes of play. He finished the first half with 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-4 from 3-point range, in just 13 minutes.
"When those first couple of shots went in," Kaminsky said, "I kind of said to myself that I'm feeling it and I said it to [Traevon Jackson] once on the court. I just kept shooting it and it kept going in."
Sophomore Sam Dekker was more blunt in his explanation of Kaminsky's hot first-half.
"In the first half they kind of let him roam the three-point line, which is stupid," Dekker said of North Dakota's defensive scheme for Kaminsky. "He was really feeling it tonight and you just have to keep feeding the hot hand."
Jackson, who finished the game with a career-high eight assists against just one turnover in 33 minutes, said he first knew that the 7-footer was going to have a special night after Kaminsky took a shot when Jackson was wide open in the corner.
"I said 'one more, one more'," Jackson explained. "He took the shot and came up to me and said 'no, I'm feeling it.'"
With the Badgers' defense not doing its usual job to hold off North Dakota, Wisconsin found itself up just 10 points at halftime and in need of a spark - one that Kaminsky provided midway through the second half. The junior from Lisle, Ill., scored 13 straight points for the Badgers and was 6-for-7 from the field in doing so. By the end of Kaminsky's personal run, Wisconsin was up 17 and in full control of the game.
When asked what it's like out there on the court when nearly everything he shoots goes in, Kaminsky described it as, "A great feeling. As a basketball player you want every shot to go in and when most of them are going in, it's going to feel great."
With 41 points already in the books and just over four minutes to play, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan took Kaminsky out of the game - much to the dismay of the Kohl Center crowd.
After the final media timeout of the evening, Kaminsky returned to the court but did not get a chance to touch the basketball. So, with 2:03 remaining in the game, Ryan again took his starting center out of the game to the tune of 16,653 boos.
"I heard them boo and I was laughing because I had no idea that I was close to a record," Kaminsky said. "I was curious as to why [coach Ryan] kept taking me out and putting me back in but I figured it out right after and it was fun."
Back in Ryan's playing days, specifically 1969, his basketball coach took him out of the game with four minutes left even though Ryan and his 43 points were just seven points shy of the school record. "I had to listen to my dad all those years when he got around Coach Rainey," Ryan said. "He'd say, 'why didn't you leave the boy in? Why didn't you let him do it?' I didn't really care."
Fast-forward to November 19, 2013 and Ryan had a decision to make. "I thought about Frank's folks. I'm serious," Ryan explained. "I thought about his folks, I thought about his friends."
So, with 1:27 remaining in the game, Ryan sent Kaminsky back out on the floor. It was now or never.
A mere 14 seconds later, Kaminsky drove through the middle of the North Dakota defense for a driving layup, giving him his 42nd and 43rd points on the night.
"I can't really describe it," Kaminsky said. "Looking back on the game now and being able to see the stats, it was an awesome game."
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