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Pit bosses: Badgers roll past Montana in NCAA opener


2012 NCAA Basketball Championship
Montana Logo 4 Wisconsin 73, 13 Montana 49
NCAA Tournament - 2nd Round • The Pit • Albuquerque, N.M.

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1st 2nd Final
 Montana (25-7) 29 20 49
 Wisconsin (25-9) 39 34 73
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Postgame Analysis
Beyond the Box: Wisconsin vs. Montana

 Statistical Leaders
 • Ryan Evans: 18 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 6-8 FG
 • Jordan Taylor: 17 Pts, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 3-5 3FG
 • Josh Gasser: 12 Pts, 3 Reb, Ast, 3-6 FG
 Stats at a Glance
 FG Percentage .383 .489
 3-Point FG Percentage .333 .500
 FT Percentage .667 .895
 Offensive Rebounds 5 11
 Defensive Rebounds 16 26
 Total Rebounds 21 37
 Turnovers 8 10
 Blocks 2 8
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March 15, 2012

-- All-America point guard Jordan Taylor took a back seat for Wisconsin during the regular season. Not so in the NCAA tournament.

The senior who settled for lower numbers across the board as he incorporated three new starting forwards into the lineup scored 17 points, dished out six assists and pulled down eight rebounds in the fourth-seeded Badgers' 73-49 rout of No. 13 seed Montana in the East Region on Thursday.

"I'm just coming out trying to do anything I can to help my team win," Taylor said. "I got some open looks, especially in the first half, and it's the same for me as everyone.

"If you get an open look you have to step up and knock it down."

Ryan Evans, one of the newcomers who benefited greatly from Taylor's unselfish play and mentoring, led Wisconsin with 18 points and had eight boards.

Evans had 14 points in the first half as the fourth-seeded Badgers built a double-digit lead that the Grizzlies couldn't erase.

 Fast Facts
• Badgers post most lopsided NCAA win in school history
• UW improves to 10-1 in Round of 64 under Bo Ryan
• Evans, Taylor, Gasser combine for 47 points

"I just wanted to come out and play aggressive and loose," Evans said. "My teammates backed me up when I had some of turnovers."

The Badgers (25-9) improved to 10-1 in NCAA tournament openers under Bo Ryan, the winningest coach in the program's history.

Wisconsin will face the Vanderbilt-Harvard winner Saturday at The Pit.

"I'm really proud of our guys," Ryan said. "I thought we did some things really well. I liked the overall effort and we're looking forward to playing again."

Art Steward's 18 points led the Grizzles (25-7), who were familiar with the Badgers' style because one of their assistants, Freddie Owens, played at Wisconsin from 2001-04. But his inside information couldn't help the Grizzlies pull off the upset.

Montana was riding a school-record 14-game win streak, having already established its best record in two decades.

But the 13th-seeded Grizzlies only held two leads against the bigger, badder Badgers -- at 2-0 and 5-2 on Derek Selvig's 3-pointer, which was quickly matched by a trey from Josh Gasser, who scored 12 points.

Evans averaged 10.9 points in the regular season and topped that in the first half when his 14 points helped the Badgers to a 39-29 halftime cushion.

Wisconsin, making its 14th-straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, raced out to a 14-7 lead when Evans swished his first four shots, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Neither team appeared bothered by jitters or the mile-high altitude even though both played the grind-it-out style that Wisconsin leans on. The first timeout didn't come until the 13:29 mark because there were no whistles to stop play for the 16-minute TV break.

The Grizzlies kept getting good looks at the basket, but they were no match for the more athletic Badgers in the paint most of the time. Jared Berggren swatted away four shots in the first half and three more in the second, finishing with seven to set a Badgers record for blocks in an NCAA tournament game.

"I was pretty much trying to play big," Berggren said. "Wait until they leave their feet, don't jump too soon. I'm just trying to protect the basket."

Mathias Ward sank two free throws and a 3-pointer and Will Cherry hit another 3 to cut Wisconsin's 16-point lead to 48-38, but the Badgers called timeout and then outscored Montana 25-11 the rest of the way.

The Grizzles shot just 38 percent, including 29 percent after halftime, against the nation's No. 1 scoring defense, which was allowing 52.9 points per game.

Rob Wilson added 10 points for the Badgers, continuing his hot streak over the last month.

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