Badgers crush American 75-35; battle Oregon Ducks Saturday

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ben Brust scored 17 points and Wisconsin devastated American with a 22-5 run to close the first half in a 75-35 victory Thursday, March 20th before a friendly crowd in the NCAA tournament.

The second-seeded Badgers (27-7) recovered from a brief first-half rut and seven-point deficit to extinguish the dreams of the 15th-seeded Eagles (20-13), champions of the Patriot League.

After Wisconsin was ousted in the first round last year as a fifth seed, Brust made sure his senior season didn't end the same way. He attacked the glass for buckets on back-to-back possessions, ending with a 3-point play with 3:33 left in the first half to give Wisconsin a 23-20 lead.

The rout was on. The Badgers hit 57 percent in the second half.

"For us, we knew that we just had to stay solid. We knew our shots would fall. I thought we did a good job of executing," Badgers guard Traevon Jackson said.

"Just getting stops on defense and knocking down open shots -- that's what it came down to. You know, we weren't hitting our shots kinda to start the game, and then they started falling for us and really, you know, opened everything else up," Badgers forward Frank Kaminsky said.

"It's definitely a good feeling. You know, I think we stuck to our principles and what our coaches talked about in the scouting report and took care of business," Badgers forward Duje Dukan said.

"It's really cool. What can I say? It's my first NCAA Tournament, so it's really exciting," Badgers freshman guard Bronson Koenig said.

"It's cool, you know, you just want to take care of business. We're happy to be able to do that. We're not going to really look at the score -- how lop-sided it is because, you know, a win is a win and a loss is a loss. We've just got to be proud of getting a W no matter how much it is," Badgers forward Sam Dekker said.

The Badgers take on the Oregon Ducks on Saturday in Milwaukee.