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Badgers hold off Penn State in Big Ten opener

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Penn State Wisconsin 60, Penn State 51
Kohl Center • Madison, Wis. • Attendance: 16,156

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1st 2nd Final
 Penn State
18 33 51
 Wisconsin 29 31 60
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 Statistical Leaders
 • Ryan Evans: 13 Pts, 9 Reb, 6-15 FG
 • Jared Berggren: 13 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Blk 5-7 FG
 • Ben Brust: 13 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 5-14 FG
 Stats at a Glance
 FG Percentage .462 .386
 3-Point FG Percentage .375 .176
 FT Percentage .000 .500
 Offensive Rebounds 9 13
 Defensive Rebounds 29 19
 Total Rebounds 38 32
 Turnovers 15 4
 Pts Off Turnovers 4 17
 2nd Chance Pts 9 13
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Jan. 3, 2013

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MADISON, Wis. -- Prior to beginning Big Ten play, the Badgers seniors discussed their leadership role and putting the team on their backs during the squad's conference run.

Those same seniors made sure their presence was felt in Wisconsin's 60-51 win over Penn State on Thursday at the Kohl Center in both teams' Big Ten opener.

UW's senior starting trio of Jared Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans combined to score over 60 percent of UW's entire point total and accounted for 20 of the team's 32 rebounds.

 Fast Facts
• UW close first half on 15-2 run
• Wisconsin ends game on 11-2 run, including a pair of Berggren dunks
• Badgers won their 10th-consecutive Big Ten opener

Berggren, who finished with 13 points, three rebounds and three blocks, iced the game with a pair of dunks late.

"Berggren, he is a handful," Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers said. "He is as good as advertised, and he was last year because he can do so many things. He is so talented, so gifted."

"I think [Jared Berggren] is one of the best `bigs' in the country," Bruesewitz added. "And it helps when you have that. It was pretty obvious tonight--he was the best player on the floor."

Evans scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Bruesewitz added 12 points and eight rebounds.

Junior Ben Brust rounded out the double-figure scoring with his 13-point outing.

"The front court bailed us out," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. "We have to get tested like this in these kind of games. We have to get the guard play up a little bit, make better decisions and make free throws, that helps too."

Trailing 16-14 midway through the first half, the Badgers closed the first stanza with a 15-2 run to take a 29-18 advantage into the half. The Nittany Lions remained within reach for most of the second half, eventually cutting UW's lead to one point with under three minutes remaining. 

Penn State (8-5, 0-1 Big Ten) trailed 50-49 with 2:52 remaining. But the Badgers (10-4, 1-0) finished the game on an 11-2 run, finally finding their shooting touch from the free-throw line. Wisconsin converted four of its last six free throws in the final minutes.

Despite shooting just 38.6 percent from the field and 17.6 percent from 3-point range, the Badgers stayed in the game with stingy defense and a mere four turnovers.

"I certainly like the way our guys, in their minds, have convinced themselves that taking care of the ball and not making bad plays, making good plays, are the way the game should be played," Ryan said. "It gives you a chance. If we didn't do that tonight, we don't have a chance."

Jermaine Marshall scored 19 points for Penn State, while D.J. Newbill added 12.

Wisconsin travels to Lincoln, Neb., to take on the Cornhuskers on Sunday, Jan. 6. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. (CT) on the Big Ten Network.

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