November 15, 2014

Wisconsin doubled up its opponent in its season-opening victory, but Frank Kaminsky wanted more.

Repeating that dominance Sunday in Madison could be difficult for the third-ranked Badgers in opening-round action of the Battle 4 Atlantis against Chattanooga, which showed some offensive aptitude in its opener and is a bit closer to Wisconsin's size.

Wisconsin began its bid for a return trip to the Final Four with Friday's 62-31 home win over Northern Kentucky, limiting the Norse to 26.4 percent shooting and posting a 42-28 rebounding advantage. No Northern Kentucky starter scored more than two points.

"I think we did really well defensively tonight. Holding an opponent to 31 points is pretty good," said Kaminsky, a preseason All-American. "We had a little slip up at the end. We wanted to hold them under 30. It's a good start, and hopefully we can build on it."

The 7-foot Kaminsky had game highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn't quite the offensive effort the experienced Badgers were looking for with a 28-point first half that kept the Norse somewhat in the game.

The 3-point shot wasn't on target for Wisconsin with a 4-for-17 mark, a number coach Bo Ryan would like to see improve to have points off 3s at least match attempts.

"When we're hitting, when we're getting those open looks, if we get those same 17 open looks, there are games we can hit seven or eight of those," said Ryan, who returns seven of his eight top scorers from a team that connected on 37.6 percent of its 3s a season ago.

Sam Dekker scored 15 points but was 0 for 2 from long range, which is an element of his game he's working to rekindle. The 6-9 junior shot 32.6 percent from 3-point range in 2013-14 after hitting 39.1 percent as a freshman.

"I see myself as a good shooter," Dekker told the team's official website. "I didn't shoot at a consistent clip last year and I want to get better at that."

Kaminsky and Dekker were joined up front by Nigel Hayes, who made his first career start after earning Big Ten sixth man of the year honors as a freshman. The 6-8 forward had six points and a career-high 10 rebounds.

The Mocs will present more size against the Badgers, who didn't face anyone over 6-7 on Northern Kentucky. Chattanooga started four players from 6-5 to 6-10 in its season-opening 110-53 victory over Hiwassee, and it garnered a 54-27 rebounding margin.

Coach Will Wade is hoping to get his team to reach a more balanced level a season after leaning on departed Z. Mason for 18.1 points per game.

It got off to a good start with three starters and three bench players reaching double figures while three others had nine points as the team shot 54.4 percent.

Sophomore Greg Pryor scored 13 points, while 6-10 forward Justin Tuoyo, who sat out last season after transferring from VCU and will likely have to deal with Kaminsky, had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

"I was really pleased with Greg Pryor," Wade said. "I thought he showed the growth he had all summer. He played extremely well.

"It was good to have Justin out there. I think people can see he's a difference maker for us in a number of ways."

It'll have to be substantial to make a difference in the outcome. Chattanooga has lost 23 straight to Top 25 opponents by an average of 22.5 points.

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