Wisconsin Badgers dominant in Sweet Sixteen win vs. Baylor
March 28, 2014 12:06 AM
Harry How/Getty Images
Wisconsin's Ben Brust celebrates in the first half Thursday against Baylor in Anaheim, Calif.
By Greg Beacham / Associated Press
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Frank Kaminsky scored 19 points and blocked six shots to help Wisconsin romp into the West Region final with an impressive 69-52 victory against Baylor Thursday night at Honda Center.
Ben Brust connected on three 3-pointers and scored 14 points for the second-seeded Badgers (29-7), who jumped to a 14-point lead in the first half and never let up on the overmatched Bears (26-12).
The 7-foot Kaminsky and his disciplined teammates shredded the Baylor zone defense that played so well in the first two games. Wisconsin also methodically shut down Baylor's talented offense while moving into its second regional final in 13 years under Bo Ryan, who has never reached a Final Four in a 700-win coaching career.
Cory Jefferson scored 15 points for the sixth-seeded Bears, who did little with their third Sweet 16 trip in five years.
Isaiah Austin and Kenny Chery scored 12 points apiece for Baylor, which made 2 of 15 3-point attempts while trailing for the final 39 minutes. The Bears needed a late rally in the final seconds just to match their lowest-scoring performance of the season.
The Badgers won by countering everything the Bears do well. Wisconsin wrecked Baylor's zone, negated its 3-point shooting acumen with perimeter defense, kept the tempo at the Badgers' preferred speed and even held a 39-33 rebounding edge on one of the nation's top rebounding teams.
Kaminsky added another remarkable performance to his junior season with the Badgers, racking up 10 points and four blocked shots while Wisconsin took a 29-16 lead into halftime.
Wisconsin held Baylor to a season-low in first-half points, and the Bears managed just one more point than the lowest-scoring half in coach Scott Drew's career at the school.
Three lower-bowl sections of the Anaheim Ducks' home arena were packed with red-clad Badgers fans, who usually turn out in droves for their school's trips to Southern California, including three consecutive recent trips to the Rose Bowl. They had little reason to worry while their Badgers quickly sapped all of the drama out of these schools' first meeting, but they let loose with boos when Baylor began intentionally fouling the Badgers in the final four minutes despite a 20-point deficit.
Wisconsin is in its 16th consecutive NCAA tournament, including all 13 years under Ryan, who took over the program in 2001. The Badgers haven't been to the Final Four since retired coach Dick Bennett got them to Indianapolis in 2000.
Baylor won't get the chance to play in the Final Four in Arlington, Texas, about 100 miles north of its campus in Waco.
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