MADISON, Wis. -- Jared Berggren had been struggling to find his shooting touch from outside.
The 6-foot-11 Berggren scored a career-high 21 points, including 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range, and Wisconsin again used a suffocating defense to pave the way to an easy win, beating Missouri-Kansas City 77-31 on Tuesday night.
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Berggren, who was 3 of 13 from behind the arc coming into the game, said he felt pretty good at Wisconsin's shootaround earlier in the day, but otherwise did nothing different.
"My teammates were just finding me in open spaces, and I was finally able to knock them down today," he said.
The Badgers (4-0) came into the game giving up an NCAA-best 35 points a game while allowing their opponents to shoot just 28 percent. By that measure, the Kangaroos (1-4) came out strong, hitting three of their first five shots. But that was about the end of the offensive highlights for them, and they ended up shooting only 21 percent from the field.
Wisconsin reeled off an 18-2 run over a nine-minute stretch in the first half and followed that not long after with a 15-3 spurt punctuated by 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions by Mike Bruesewitz.
Berggren then completed a three-point play early in the second half that increased Wisconsin's lead to 52-21, and the Badgers pushed the cushion past 40 just more than midway through the second half.
Berggren was a physical mismatch inside or outside for whoever guarded him, and the Kangaroos were dominated down low. Wisconsin had a 30-10 edge in the paint and outrebounded the Kangaroos 45-25. Missouri-Kansas City ended up with just three assists to 18 for the Badgers.
Coach Matt Brown said the Kangaroos were hampered by injuries, playing without 6-8 starter Bernard Kamwa, as well as reserve forwards Fred Chatmon and Jordan Payton.
"It's not an excuse," Brown said. "We were kind of limited there. We didn't have a match for them in the post."
Trinity Hall and Reggie Chamberlain led Missouri-Kansas City with seven points apiece.
Ben Brust scored 12 for Wisconsin and Bruesewitz added 10.
The only oddity on Berggren's stat line was that he did not grab a rebound. Badgers guard Ryan Evans led Wisconsin with seven rebounds, while point guard Jordan Taylor and Bruesewitz grabbed six apiece.
"Our bigs make sure that their bigs do not get the rebound," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "Sometimes rebounding statistics can be deceiving as to who's getting them and who's not. Sometimes it's because the bigs are doing such a good job of keeping their guy off the glass and the guards are cleaning up the mess."
The win was Ryan's 246th at Wisconsin, tying him for second on the school's career list. He is 246-91 at Wisconsin and needs 19 wins to match Harold "Bud" Foster for the most in team history.
The game was the second for each team in the Chicago Invitational Challenge. Both head to Hoffman Estates, Ill., for games this weekend.
The competition figures to get tougher for Wisconsin beginning this weekend, especially with No. 1 North Carolina looming Nov. 30. But the offense is clicking so far.
The Badgers have 115 field goals on 68 assists and a better than 2 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio. That's even with Taylor, the team's leading scorer last season at better than 18 points a game, playing more of a facilitator role early on. He is averaging eight points a game so far, but has 21 assists and just two turnovers.
"We've had a ton of assists every game that we've played," Bruesewitz said. "We're sharing the ball extremely well. We're playing good team ball."
|Wisconsin's Jared Berggren (right) earns a career-high 21 points against Missouri-Kansas City. (AP)|
|Wisconsin #11 (4-0) «||41||36||77|
|MOKC:R. Chamberlain 7 Pts
MOKC:T. Staton 4 Reb
MOKC:R. Chamberlain 1 Ast
|WI:J. Berggren 21 Pts
WI:R. Evans 7 Reb
WI:J. Taylor 6 Ast
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|PLAYERS OF THE GAME|
|T. Hall, F||31||3-14||0-0||4||0||0||7|
|T. Staton, G-F||25||0-6||0-0||4||0||2||0|
|K. Korver, F-C||23||1-3||0-1||4||0||4||3|
|R. Chamberlain, G||20||3-8||0-0||1||1||1||7|
|E. Tyler, G||16||0-4||0-0||4||1||1||0|
|D. Dibble, G||22||0-3||2-2||2||0||1||2|
|N. Rogers, G||21||2-7||2-2||1||0||1||6|
|M. Gholston Jr., G||20||2-5||0-0||2||1||2||6|
|B. Reid, C||20||0-2||0-0||1||0||2||0|
|T. Mason, G||2||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|J. Payton, G-F||Did Not Play|
|F. Chatmon, F-C||Did Not Play|
|B. Kamwa, F-C||Did Not Play|
|T. Franklin, G-F||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|J. Taylor, G||30||3-7||2-4||6||6||2||9|
|M. Bruesewitz, F||28||4-9||0-1||6||3||0||10|
|J. Gasser, G||28||3-5||0-0||4||3||0||8|
|R. Evans, G-F||23||3-7||0-0||7||1||1||6|
|J. Berggren, F-C||21||8-9||1-1||0||1||0||21|
|B. Brust, G||23||5-9||0-0||6||2||1||12|
|R. Wilson, G-F||15||0-2||0-0||1||1||1||0|
|F. Kaminsky, F||9||3-4||1-2||3||1||1||9|
|T. Jackson, G||8||0-4||0-0||4||0||0||0|
|E. Anderson, C||4||0-0||0-0||0||0||2||0|
|D. Dukan, F||4||0-1||0-0||2||0||1||0|
|D. Fahey, G||3||1-1||0-0||2||0||0||2|
|J. Wise, G||2||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|J. Smith, G||2||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|G. Marshall, G||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|