Louisiana Tech 52

(7-6, 2-5 away)

(24) Wisconsin 78

(10-1, 10-0 home)

    8:00 PM ET, December 28, 2005

    Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin

    1 2 T
    LT 25 2752
    #24WIS 39 3978

    Top Performers

    Louisiana Tech: P. Millsap 16 Pts, 5 Reb

    Wisconsin: B. Butch 18 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Blk

    Big night for Butch as Badgers beat Bulldogs

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Brian Butch took advantage of a long layoff and Wisconsin's winter weather.

    Butch had 18 points -- on 8-of-12 shooting -- and 10 rebounds as Wisconsin (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) beat a groggy Louisiana Tech 78-52 Wednesday night.

    "He didn't force anything, and he gets a double-double," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. "That's a good line for Brian. It's a good line for anybody."

    The Badgers (10-1), coming off a nearly two-week layoff, are off to their best start since 2000-01, the year before Ryan took over.

    "We moved the ball and played well," said Butch, who also had a career-high five assists. "My own game feeds off of teammates."

    Ray Nixon, who finished with 14 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers and the 6-foot-11 Butch added a 3-pointer of his own during Wisconsin's 11-0 run to push the lead to 25 to start the second half.

    "Those are crucial minutes," forward Alando Tucker said. "We wanted to get a good start because we didn't want this game to resemble the Milwaukee game."

    Wisconsin, which crept into the rankings this week despite being idle since a 74-68 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Dec. 15, blew a 20-point first-half lead in that game.

    But Louisiana Tech (7-6) was no match for Wisconsin, partly because the Bulldogs -- led by 16 points from Paul Millsap -- couldn't catch any breaks before the game.

    They were supposed to fly into Madison on Tuesday, but their flight was canceled due to a thick fog in Wisconsin and they spent the night in Dallas. Forced to get up at 3:30 a.m., the Bulldogs finally arrived around noon, but couldn't have a shootaround before the game.

    "They're young kids, none of them get up at 3:30 in the morning," Louisiana Tech coach Brad Richard said. "Big basketball players laying around at the airport, it was just a mess."

    It showed.

    Louisiana Tech went 3½ minutes without scoring and turned the ball over twice as the Badgers jumped out to an 8-0 lead. Butch made it 20-7 on a short jumper in the paint midway through the first half.

    Louisiana Tech's struggles continued -- never more apparent than when Millsap was bloodied after being elbowed in the mouth by teammate Marcus Elliott.

    "I thought it might wake him up a little bit and get him going," Richard said. "It didn't."

    When Millsap went out for treatment, the Bulldogs were just 3-of-15 from the field with six turnovers and already down 26-11.

    Millsap, who has won back-to-back NCAA rebounding titles and is averaging 12 rebounds a game so far this season, returned but managed just five boards.

    But Louisiana Tech's poor play wasn't because of a lack of effort.

    In one first-half sequence, the Bulldogs, which finished 20-of-64 from the field, missed four consecutive shots -- including three 3-pointers -- but grabbed four straight offensive rebounds.

    The sequence ended when Jerome Richardson was blocked on a layup by Greg Stiemsma, who finished with a career-high five blocks.

    Tucker scored 11 points and Michael Flowers added 10 for Wisconsin, which shot 53 percent (31-of-58) from the field.

    The last time Wisconsin was ranked was the final poll last season, when the Badgers went into the NCAA tournament at No. 20 and lost in the Syracuse Regional final to eventual national champion North Carolina.

    With Tucker as their only returning starter, the Badgers weren't expected to do as much this season. But Wisconsin has gone 3-1 against 2005 tournament teams so far with the only loss being a 91-88 setback at Wake Forest.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 52 78
    FG Made-Attempted 20-64 (.313) 31-58 (.534)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-30 (.233) 7-16 (.438)
    FT Made-Attempted 5-9 (.556) 9-16 (.563)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 28

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 28, 2005 @WIS 78, LT 52Recap