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Badgers swat American with second half surge

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When Mutual of Omaha used to present Wild Kingdom on television on Sundays, you would sometimes see a musk ox looking very contented wading in his favorite watering hole.

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He would only stop on occasion to swat at a fly with his tail.

Applying this analogy to the NCAA West Region second round game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2) was the musk ox and American University (15) was that pesky fly.

The Badgers seemed to be bothered by the Eagles for a very few minutes Thursday afternoon.

Emphasis on the word ‘few.’

Bucky went on a tear and ended up decimating the overmatched American, coming away with a 75-35 win to advance to Saturday’s game.

Wisconsin will take on the winner of BYU and Oregon.

Turnovers told the tale in the contest.

The Eagles got flustered and the Badgers turned their miscues into points on the other end.

The underdog led 17-10 at one point, but could only muster 13 second half points in the rout.

“I thought for thirty minutes we played about as well as we can play,” UW head coach Bo Ryan said after the game. “American can bring so much to the table. They had a great year. To be able to play another forty is great. Eighty minutes is better than just forty.”

Forward Sam Dekker tweaked his knee when he got tangled up in the second half, but he said he was good to go.

“Coach is all about keeping things simple. Playing with the same group out there in all the rotations makes it easy,” Dekker said.

American University may not have been on anybody’s radar going in to the NCAA Tournament this year, but they showed they deserved to be there.

Using a methodical, disciplined offense and spacing modeled after Princeton, the Eagles gave the Wisconsin Badgers fits early in the first half.

Emphasis on the word ‘early.’

But as the final minutes melted off the clock in the opening stanza, Bucky went on a 22-5 run to lead 32-22.

Badger guards Traevon Jackson (18) and Ben Brust (17) led the scoring for the victors, matching their victim’s total by themselves.

Dekker chipped in with 11 and Frank Kaminsky added just eight on 3 of 9 shooting.

Kaminsky will have to return to his mid-season form if the Badgers hope to go deep into this tourney.

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