Milwaukee, WI – Wisconsin wing Sam Dekker shook off the effects of an injured left ankle to score 15 first half points in leading the Badgers to a 21-point halftime lead they would build on after intermission and defeat the Milwaukee Panthers, 93-54 on Wednesday night.
Held to seven points total in Wisconsin’s previous two games, an 80-70 loss to Duke and a 49-38 victory over Marquette, Dekker played with noticeably more pep in his step against Milwaukee, scoring from behind the three-point line, in the paint and above the rim. In one sequence in the first half, Dekker stole the ball in Milwaukee’s forecourt, led a Wisconsin two-on-one break and flushed home a lob pass from teammate Traevon Jackson to draw cheers from the large contingent of Wisconsin fans in attendance.
“Our trainers did a good job working with me and I practiced pretty well the last two days,” said Dekker. “I”m not going to make any excuses for the way I played the last two games. We start with a clean slate every game and I just want to keep it going now.”
Wisconsin senior center Frank Kaminsky rebounded from an uneven start to lead the Badgers with 18 points. Kaminsky did most of his work in the paint attacking the basket off the dribble and posting up the shorter bigs of Milwaukee. Feeling the defense out of post-ups, Kaminsky reached into his bag of moves to score over and around Milwaukee defenders. “I missed some easy shots early,” said Kaminsky. “We didn’t shoot that well against Marquette, but we came out here and shot the lights out.”
The Badgers made 61 percent of their shots from the floor including making half of 16 shots from behind the three-point arc. “We never made them feel uncomfortable,” said Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter. “Every mistake we made they capitalized on it.” Jeter was going up against his former collegiate coach in Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan, for whom he played under at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville from 1987-91.
After committing 11 turnovers against Marquette in its last outing and incurring the anger of Ryan in his post-game comments, the Badgers committed only four turnovers against the Panthers and had only one turnover at the 30 minute mark of the game. “And I wasn’t too happy with that one,” joked Ryan.
Wisconsin was equally as efficient on the defensive end of the court. Playing its traditional man defense and contesting shots from all parts of the court, the Badgers held the Panthers to 35 percent shooting from the field. Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser, a two-time All-Big Ten Defensive Team selection, led the Badgers with four steals and took turns with fellow backcourt mate Jackson to limit Milwaukee leading scorer Steve McWhorter to six points, ten below his average. “Defensively, we planned our work and worked our plan,” said Ryan.
With the win the Badgers improved their all-time record against Milwaukee to 31-1 and take a season record of 9-1 into their next game against Nicholls on Saturday, December 13 in Madison, Wisconsin. Milwaukee’s record fell to 4-6 with the loss. The Panthers return to action against Montana on Sunday, December 14 in a game in Milwaukee.
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