Wisconsin rips Nebraska-Omaha 86-40

J.R. ROSS Associated Press Published:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin guard Ben Brust said some of the Badgers took last week's home loss to Virginia a little personal. In fact, all three of Wisconsin's losses are still eating away at them.

Still, Wisconsin put up a nice defensive showing for the second time since losing to the Cavaliers, this one an 86-40 win over Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday night.

"We're getting better and helping and recovering, picking up for the next guy if something goes wrong," said Brust, who scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Wisconsin. "From day one to where we are now, it's better, but there is still room for improvement."

Trailing just 6-5 early in the first half, it was largely downhill from there for the Mavericks. Wisconsin (6-3) finished the half on a 36-7 run, punctuated by Traevon Jackson's steal and shot at the buzzer to put the Badgers up 42-13.

Nebraska-Omaha (2-8) had the kind of first half almost guaranteed to doom a small school going on the road to play a team from the Big Ten. The Mavericks shot 22 percent from the floor, including 0 of 5 from 3-point range, while committing 10 turnovers. At one point in the first half, they had just one assist to go with eight turnovers, eventually finishing with 19 turnovers compared to 17 field goals.

"We're young and inexperienced right now and not very big," Mavericks coach Derrin Hansen said. "We like to play inside-out and they took that away from us. When you don't make any shots on top of that, it can snowball a little bit."

Wisconsin continued its hot pace since losing to Virginia 60-54 last week. After shooting 52 percent from the field Sunday on its way to beating California 81-56, the Badgers shot 50 percent from the field in the first half Tuesday.

The Badgers led by 42 points with just more than 4 minutes left in the game when coach Bo Ryan pulled the last of his starters off the floor. But the backups still managed to expand the lead.

The defense has also clamped down the last two games, forcing 42 turnovers.

Ryan said it's hard to compare the two games because California had more experience, while Nebraska-Omaha is in the midst of a lengthy road trip. But he said the Badgers were in position to make things happen defensively.

"It's a start. Every game is different. Every 40 minutes is different," Ryan said. "But they're starting to see some results from their changed behavior."

Brust was one of five Badgers in double figures. Ryan Evans had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Jared Berggren scored 13, Frank Kaminsky had 11 and Sam Dekker chipped in with 10.

Justin Simmons led Nebraska-Omaha with 12 points.

One negative for Wisconsin continued to be the Badgers' free throw shooting as they finished 10 of 16 and are now shooting 66 percent for the season.

Ryan also said the team's play at point guard remains spotty, but he said it's hard to compare Jackson and George Marshall to former Badgers player Jordan Taylor, who had some of the best numbers in school history.

Jackson and Marshall combined for seven points on 3 of 11 shooting, including 0 for 7 from behind the 3-point arc and had two assists to go with two turnovers.

"I'm probably not in a very good position to give a comparison right now," Ryan said. "I can't do that."

The Mavericks, which are in their second year of Division I, finish up a 10-game road swing with a final stop Dec. 15 at Denver. Hansen said he told his players not to worry about their rough run against bigger schools and to focus on getting better once they get home.

"We're tired," Hansen said. "I'll admit it. I wasn't sure what town I was in when I woke up today. I felt like Bon Jovi."