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(Thursday, January 2nd)
Final Score: (4) Wisconsin 76, Northwestern 49
Evanston, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Nigel Hayes scored a career-high 19 points to lead fourth-ranked Wisconsin in a 76-49 victory over Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
"What Nigel's doing, one of the biggest reasons he's able to do that, besides his frame, is that he's intelligent," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said.
Sam Dekker added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Traevon Jackson and Ben Burst each netted 10 for the Badgers (14-0, 1-0), who are one win shy of tying the school's best start in 100 years (UW went 15-0 in 1913-1914).
Alex Olah posted a career-high, scoring 23 points and Drew Crawford tallied 10 for the Wildcats (7-7, 0-1), who won three in a row before losing their last two.
Down one early, Wisconsin went on a 16-2 run in a little under nine minutes to grab a 20-7 lead with 6:55 to play and didn't look back. The Badgers took a comfortable 40-14 lead into the half.
Northwestern shot a mere 26.1 percent (6-23) from the field in the first half.
"Certainly it was a tough night for us," Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. "Give a lot of credit to Wisconsin for that. I mean it was a great lesson for our guys."
Wisconsin's largest lead of the game was 31 points almost six minutes after the break. The closest Northwestern pulled to in the second half was 22 with 10:05 to play.
Wisconsin ranked among the national leaders in average turnovers committed with 8.5 per game coming into the contest and it stayed right on track with just four against Northwestern.
Wisconsin had a 32-4 advantage in bench points ... Wisconsin will host Iowa on Sunday ... Northwestern plays at Michigan on Sunday ... The Badgers hold a 112-62 advantage in the series ... Wisconsin has won seven straight over Northwestern ... The Wildcats have dropped their last seven conference openers ... The Badgers have won 11 straight Big Ten openers.
01/02 22:56:08 ET
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