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College basketball: Badgers cruise past Northwestern 78-46

EVANSTON, Ill. -- You can study the final box score from every possible angle for as long as you'd like and the story will not change. Wisconsin embarrassed Northwestern Sunday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Badgers moved the ball better and ...

Badgers basketball
Wisconsin's Keaton Nankivil (top) goes over Northwestern's Luka Mirkovic to grab a rebound Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, in Evanston, Ill. Wisconsin defeated Northwestern 78-46. (John Smierciak / Associated Press)

EVANSTON, Ill. -- You can study the final box score from every possible angle for as long as you'd like and the story will not change.

Wisconsin embarrassed Northwestern Sunday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

The Badgers moved the ball better and shot the ball better, which resulted in five players scoring in double figures. They displayed more poise and energy on defense and won the rebounding battle decisively, which resulted in a game that was over by halftime.

Oh yeah. They also got the first triple-double in program history as freshman guard Josh Gasser contributed 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in Wisconsin's ridiculously easy 78-46 Big Ten Conference victory.

"For him to do that, that is unbelievable," Badgers senior forward Jon Leuer said. "First one in school history, as a freshman.

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"He is only going to get better."

It is hard to imagine a better performance by Gasser or by Wisconsin (15-4, 5-2), which solidified its hold on third place and moved within a game of second-place Purdue (17-3, 6-1) and two games of first-place Ohio State (20-0, 7-0).

Gasser, a standout at Port Washington (Wis.) High School whose first scholarship offer from a high-major program came from Northwestern, hit 4 of 7 field-goal attempts. He hit his first-three-pointer since making the second of two attempts on Dec. 23 against Coppin State.

He led both teams in rebounds and assists and perhaps most important held up well defensively against the Wildcats' sophisticated "Princeton" offense.

"That was a tremendous accomplishment," UW coach Bo Ryan said of Gasser's triple-double.

Gasser's triple-double was the first in the Big Ten this season and only the 11th nationally. According to the Big Ten office, Gasser is the first Big Ten freshman to record a triple-double since assists were added to the official stats in the mid-1980s.

"I kind of had an idea that I was close," said Gasser, who secured the triple-double with his 10th assist, on Brett Valentyn's three-pointer with 2 minutes 56 seconds left. "I wanted to get one more (assist) there at the end. Fortunately Brett knocked it down.

"But we got the win, which was most important."

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After Northwestern (13-6, 3-5) hit 4 of its first 5 field-goal attempts and scored on five of its first eight possessions to forge a 12-12 tie, Wisconsin established control on both ends of the court.

The Badgers outscored the Wildcats, 33-14, over the final 13:56 of the half to build a 45-26 lead. Gasser started the run with a basket inside off an aggressive post-up move and closed the run with a basket with four seconds left after he stole an attempted outlet pass.

Wisconsin shot 53.8 percent from three-point range (7 of 13), 62.1 percent overall (18 of 29) and built the 19-point halftime lead despite the fact that Leuer had as many fouls (two) as points in 10 minutes of action in the half.

WISCONSIN 78

Jarmusz 1-5 0-0 3, Leuer 8-10 1-1 19, Nankivil 7-10 0-0 16, Taylor 5-9 1-1 14, Gasser 4-7 1-1 10, Brust 0-1 0-0 0, Dukan 0-1 0-0 0, Valentyn 1-2 0-0 3, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Bruesewitz 4-5 0-0 10, Wilson 0-3 0-0 0, Berggren 0-1 1-2 1, Gavinski 0-0 0-0 0, Evans 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 31-56 4-5 78.

NORTHWESTERN 46

Crawford 0-6 0-0 0, Shurna 5-13 2-2 13, Mirkovic 4-6 4-4 13, Thompson 3-7 0-0 6, Cobb 3-3 0-0 6, Nichols 0-0 0-0 0, Hearn 0-0 2-3 2, Fruendt 1-2 1-2 3, Capocci 0-0 0-0 0, Curletti 1-1 0-0 2, Marcotullio 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 17-41 10-13 46.

Halftime--Wisconsin 45-26. 3-Point Goals--Wisconsin 12-26 (Taylor 3-5, Leuer 2-2, Bruesewitz 2-3, Nankivil 2-4, Valentyn 1-2, Gasser 1-3, Jarmusz 1-4, Brust 0-1, Wilson 0-2), Northwestern 2-10 (Mirkovic 1-1, Shurna 1-3, Fruendt 0-1, Crawford 0-2, Thompson 0-3). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds_Wisconsin 32 (Gasser 12), Northwestern 18 (Mirkovic 4). Assists--Wisconsin 22 (Gasser 10), Northwestern 9 (Marcotullio 2). Total Fouls--Wisconsin 15, Northwestern 10. A--7,102.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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