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December 28, 2005

Wisconsin takes down La. Tech

Box score

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MADISON, Wis. - Brian Butch scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and had 10 rebounds as No. 24 Wisconsin beat Louisiana Tech 78-52 Wednesday night.

The Badgers (10-1), coming off a nearly two-week layoff, are off to their best start in Bo Ryan's tenure and since 2000-01 when Brad Soderberg took over three games into the season for Dick Bennett.

Ray Nixon, who finished with 14 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half 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.

Louisiana Tech (7-6) was no match for Wisconsin, which crept into the rankings this week despite being idle since a 74-68 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Dec. 15.

The Bulldogs, led by 16 points from Paul Millisap, couldn't catch any breaks before the game, either.

They were supposed to fly into Madison on Tuesday, but their flight was canceled due to foggy weather in Wisconsin and they spent the night in Dallas.

Forced to get up at 3:30 a.m., the Bulldogs finally arrived via Chicago around noon, but couldn't have a shootaround before the game.

It showed.

Louisiana Tech went 3 1/2 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 Millisap was bloodied after being elbowed in the mouth by teammate Marcus Elliott.

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

Millisap, 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, partly because Wisconsin shot 53 percent (31-of-58) from the field.

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 Richardson was blocked on a layup by Greg Stiemsma, who finished with a career-high five blocks, and lost the ball off his leg.

Alando Tucker scored 11 points and Michael Flowers added 10 for Wisconsin, which was last ranked in the final AP poll for 2004-05 at No. 20.

For more coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers, check out BadgerBlitz.com.

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