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Badgers blazing hot from long range to leave Wildcats behind

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Associated Press
January 19, 2012
— Wisconsin’s shooting and its prospects in the Big Ten—suddenly look a lot better.

Jordan Taylor scored nine of his 15 points during a 17-2 run early in the second half, hitting three 3-pointers in a 1:38 span, to lead the Badgers to a 77-57 rout of Northwestern on Wednesday night.


Ryan Evans scored 17, Mike Bruesewitz 13 and Josh Gasser 10 as the Badgers (15-5, 4-3 Big Ten) shot 50 percent and hit 12 of 23 3-pointers in their third straight win after three consecutive losses.


“You’ve got to kind of forget about the slumps and have amnesia and turn it around as quick as you can, because you can’t stay down too long,” Taylor said.


“It always helps when the ball’s going in the basket. It always makes it look a lot better. I think we’re doing a better job of moving without the ball and then passing up good shots for great shots.”


Wisconsin came in shooting just 35 percent over its previous five games and had been a dismal 10 for 68 from beyond the arc over its first three Big Ten games at the Kohl Center. But against Northwestern (12-6, 2-4), the Badgers made 11 of their first 17 3-pointers and recorded 16 assists on their 27 baskets in their best shooting game in three weeks.


“You just keep working it,” Coach Bo Ryan said of his strategy to snap out of such slumps.


“You don’t whine, you don’t complain, you don’t feel sorry for yourself. You just play and practice. And practice. And practice some more.


“It’s always all smiles when the ball’s going down. But you get that many assists for that many baskets, that’s good ball movement.”


It was a tight game throughout an entertaining first half, and the Badgers led 38-36 after Drew Crawford hit a jumper for Northwestern 2:28 into the second half.


But Taylor started the decisive run 24 seconds later with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, then hit two more 3s from the right side in a 36-second span and fed Gasser for another 3 off a fast break to make it 50-38.


“Obviously, they’re a really talented team,” said John Shurna, who led the Wildcats with 19 points. “Once we let them get hot like that, they played with a lot of confidence. They felt like they could do anything against us.”


Evans, who scored 15 in the second half, added the final five points of the 17-2 surge, converting a three-point play and making two more free throws.


He also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and threw down an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Taylor with 3:07 left for Wisconsin, which led by as many as 23 in posting its 14th straight win over Northwestern in Madison.


Crawford finished with 17 points and Reggie Hearn added 11 for the Wildcats, who couldn’t build on the momentum of Saturday’s 81-74 upset of Michigan State.


“They just played like a Wisconsin team that I’ve seen before: shot the ball well, passed the ball well and didn’t turn it over,” said Northwestern coach Bill Carmody, who saw the Badgers succeed against both his team’s man-to-man defense and its 1-3-1 zone.


WISCONSIN 77, NORTHWESTERN 57

Northwestern (57)—Crawford 7-15 2-2 17, Shurna 6-12 4-4 19, Curletti 1-3 0-2 2, Sobolewski 3-8 1-1 7, Hearn 2-6 6-6 11, Jimenez 0-0 0-0 0, Mirkovic 0-0 0-2 0, Montgomery III 0-1 1-2 1, Fruendt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-45 14-19 57.


Wisconsin (77)—Evans 7-13 3-3 17, Bruesewitz 5-10 1-2 13, Berggren 2-3 0-0 5, Taylor 5-9 1-1 15, Gasser 3-6 2-4 10, Brust 3-8 0-0 8, Fahey 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Dukan 0-0 0-0 0, Wise 2-2 0-0 5, Anderson 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 0-3 2-2 2, Kaminsky 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 27-54 11-14 77.


Northwestern 32 25—57


Wisconsin 34 43—77


Three-point goals—Northwestern 5-14 (Shurna 3-4, Crawford 1-3, Hearn 1-3, Montgomery III 0-1, Curletti 0-1, Sobolewski 0-2), Wisconsin 12-23 (Taylor 4-6, Gasser 2-2, Bruesewitz 2-5, Brust 2-6, Berggren 1-1, Wise 1-1, Evans 0-1, Wilson 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Northwestern 24 (Curletti, Shurna 6), Wisconsin 32 (Evans 9). Assists—Northwestern 8 (Sobolewski 6), Wisconsin 16 (Taylor 6). Total Fouls—Northwestern 13, Wisconsin 17. Technical—Northwestern Bench.


Attendance—16,939.



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