MILWAUKEE— Wisconsin fans that made the trip to Kohl Center South (Bradley Center) Thursday may have been getting flashbacks of last year’s NCAA Tournament early on, but dreams of a Final Four run were back in full force when the final horn sounded.Wisconsin (27-7) rode a 50-9 run that started midway through the first half to completely dismantle American (20-13) and any hopes it had of the upset in a 75-35 blowout win in the second round.Wisconsin point guard Traevon Jackson scored a game-high 18 points, shooting 6 of 8 from the floor, and senior guard Ben Brust was close behind with 17 points.American’s Tony Wroblicky and John Schoof scored 11 points each. No other American player reached double digits in scoring.Junior center Frank Kaminsky kick started the offense for the Badgers scoring the team’s first six points, but the Eagles would counter with a 12-0 run to give them a 17-10 lead.“We were excited. We were playing well,” Wroblicky said. “We were making them take tough shots and we were scoring.”Starting at the 16:15 mark, the Badgers would go on a scoring drought that would last over seven minutes.The Badgers fans that filled the Bradley Center were beginning to get restless as thoughts of an early tournament exit began to creep in.With 11:02 left in the first, a timeout was called and the Wisconsin players reminded themselves in the huddle that this is their game to take.“We were just trying to play like we were the Goliath and they were the Davids,” Kaminsky said. “It was something like that. We’re the two seed and they’re the 15 seed. We should be taking care of business and we went out there and did that.”Less than two minutes later Brust hit a three to bring Wisconsin within three and bring the home crowd back to life.Brust’s three would ignite the Badgers to a 22-5 run to end the first half and give them a 32-22 lead at the break.“Ben sparked the run. We got him an open three and he knocked it down,” Kaminsky said. “From then on out it was just attacking the rim, making good plays and hitting open shots. Ben’s a guy that can do that. He can be a spark when we need him to and he did that today.”It was more of the same for Wisconsin offensively in the second half. The Badgers would score 20 more points in the first 10 minutes of the second half with seven coming from sophomore Sam Dekker who finished with 11 points and six boards.Wisconsin’s offensive efficiency in the second half was impressive, but even more important was the work the Badgers did on the other end of the floor.American was held to just two points through the first 7:25 of the second half because of Wisconsin’s ability to shut down what was working for the Eagles earlier in the game.“That Princeton offense, they really want to get you on the back cuts, some open threes,” Josh Gasser said. “I thought we took both those things away. They didn’t get many clean looks from three and I don’t think they got any layups on the backdoor cuts.”Along with locking in the Princeton offense, Kaminsky was able to work on American’s primary weapon, Wroblicky, holding him to just four points in the second half.“He was the center of their offense,” Kaminsky said of Wroblicky. “He touches the ball for a majority of their plays. Trying to take him out of was part of our game plan and I think in the second half we were able to do that a little bit.”American’s offense would manage just 13 points in the second half on a 15.8 percent shooting clip to give the Eagles a season-low scoring total of 35 points.The Badgers’ offense would play up to par with their defense, shooting 57.7 percent in the second half and extending the lead to as much as 41 points.With the game well in hand, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan was able to empty the bench and allow his seniors who don’t see the floor regularly — Evan Anderson and Zach Bohannon — a taste of the big stage.“That’s why they jacked shots right away,” Ryan said. “Right away when a couple guys too shots, they knew right where the camera was.”The Badgers ended up winning by 40 points — a program record for an NCAA Tournament game.“We’re trying to do something special here. It all starts with that first game and now we’re going to focus on the next.”Wisconsin will now face Oregon Saturday in Milwaukee after the Ducks beat BYU 87-68 Thursday night.
Facebook Twitter Google+ CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jim Boeheim’s wife, Juli, has told the 43-year head coach that their son Buddy should play more. That’s what Syracuse’s head coach said on Wednesday night, adding that Juli reminds him every day. Buddy put his head down and laughed when he was told.“Oh no,” Buddy said before the question even finished. “I think that’s more the mom in her, not really the coach, but it’s always nice when you go out there and play well when you’re starting especially.”Buddy started for Syracuse (20-12, 10-8 Atlantic Coast) on Wednesday in a 73-59 win over Pittsburgh (14-19, 3-15) in the ACC tournament. Tyus Battle missed the game with a bruised back, so for the first time since SU’s opening two games of the season, Buddy got the nod from the opening tip. He finished with a career-high 20 points, career-high six rebounds, career-high four assists and a personal 8-0 run that gave the Orange a second-half jolt.“He’s been well prepared to be able to step up in this kind of game,” Boeheim said.Early in the first half, the Panthers inbounded underneath their offensive basket but lobbed a pass out toward the 3-point arc. Buddy leapt for the interception, dribbled behind his back and converted a layup. He’s said all season he’s wanted to be more than a shooter, and it showed. Buddy’s second bucket of the first half came from deep on the right wing when he banked in a 3.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut the Orange went into halftime down six points. Buddy’s teammates encouraged him to take more shots, he said. So out of the locker room, again on the floor to start the half, he did.“Guys were telling me I needed to look more for my shot in the second half,” Buddy said. “And that’s what I did and they were finding me.”It started in the lane again, off a drive to his left that finished with a short righty floater. Then Buddy stepped into a 3 at the top of the key. Finally, the Buddy-only run culminated with a 3 from about five feet beyond the top of the arc. Syracuse led and wouldn’t trail again. Pittsburgh used a timeout. And Buddy walked calmly toward midcourt before pointing at his jersey and being surrounded by teammates who sprinted over to pound chests with him. “In practice, we make him scream, we make him react to shots and stuff,” Frank Howard said. “We make him show a little bit of emotion. He’s a competitor, regardless, he’s just not very vocal about it, and he’s young. That got me hype today. That kind of all turned us up.”Buddy assisted on 3s from Elijah Hughes and Howard soon after. The Orange broke the game open, and free throws down the stretch helped the freshman surpass his previous career-high of 16.After the game, Buddy sat at his locker speaking to reporters with an ice pack on his right hand. He’d hurt part of his thumb at some point in the first half, but he credited adrenaline for not allowing him to remember when. He wasn’t worried about it, though.“I shot better in the second half, so I don’t think it’s a big problem,” Buddy said. Buddy hadn’t started a game since the first two Syracuse played, back on Nov. 6 and 10. After a solid exhibition slate, he combined to shoot 2-of-18 in his first starts. When the Orange returned to fuller health, Buddy was relegated to a bench role that he thrived in when the calendar changed to 2019.But Wednesday, in the first postseason game of his career in the uniform he grew up dreaming to wear, Buddy was back in the starting lineup. He led his father’s team in scoring in a win that seemed far from certain with Battle out of the lineup.“When you can shoot the ball like that, that’s a big-time weapon, and it opens up so many other things in your game,” Pitt head coach Jeff Capel said.And when the final buzzer sounded, with the teams lining up for handshakes, Buddy found himself side-by-side with Battle. The Syracuse junior, who’s scored 20-plus points in 34 different games with the Orange, brought up that it was Buddy’s first time doing so. Then, the usual starter and the freshman that took his place Wednesday laughed.“I was like yeah, I almost missed it ‘cause I missed those free throws and I was a little worried,” Buddy said. “But I got it. Most important, we won that game, so that’s the biggest thing.” Published on March 14, 2019 at 1:17 am Contact Billy: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Wheyen3 Comments