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Badgers use balance, threes to roll past UW-Green Bay

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December 14, 2010
— UW-Green Bay coach Brian Wardle thought Mike Bruesewitz would be the X-factor if the Phoenix could stop Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil.

The Badgers know better. Bruesewitz gives them a big boost, regardless of his point total.


Bruesewitz scored a career-best 18 points, Leuer had 22 and Wisconsin went 10 of 17 from three-point range to beat Green Bay, 70-56, on Monday night.


“He’s tough, he’s strong and he goes to the glass hard,” Wardle said of Bruesewitz. “I told (my team), I’d like to see him beat us, I’d like to see if he could beat us. ... He proved tonight he could.”


Bruesewitz said forcing him to score would be his own strategy against Wisconsin, too, by defending Leuer, Nankivil and Jordan Taylor tightly.


“Look who’s left, it’s me,” Bruesewitz said. “We do the same thing, try to take (opposing) team’s best options away. We want to try to make other guys beat us.”


Wisconsin (9-2) avenged its first ever loss last season to Green Bay (4-7) with a sizzling performance from behind the arc, improving to 16-1 all-time against its in-state neighbor. Bruesewitz and the Badgers are taking the next nine days off to focus on finals in the classroom.


“He’s got energy, sometimes it gets away from him in decisions, but I’d rather have to tone somebody down than get them excited about what they’re doing,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “That’s why Mike can always play for me. Guys like that have always been able to play for me. Without his play, we would not be the team we are right now.”


Ryan said over the extended layoff, the Badgers will work on the three Ls: legs, lungs and lifts. They don’t play again until Big Ten play opens on Dec. 28 against No. 21 Minnesota.


With wins over UW-Milwaukee and Marquette, it’s the first time they’ve swept the other Division I teams in Wisconsin in four seasons. Nankivil had 16 points and four blocks for the Badgers, who lost 88-84 in overtime in Green Bay last year.


Rahmon Fletcher and


7-foot-1 freshman Alec Brown each had 18 points for the Phoenix.


The 6-foot-8 Nankivil and Bruesewitz hit threes, while Taylor added a jumper and Wisconsin knocked down 7 of 8 free throws in a 15-4 run that made it 27-17.


Leuer, who has scored in double digits in 18 consecutive games and has scored 20 or more in half of them, hit back-to-back threes to make it 46-28 with 12:50 left.


“We’re a pretty dynamic team when we have all these parts working,” Leuer said.



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