MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Sam Dekker scored 17 points to and No. 5 Wisconsin dispatched Nicholls State on Saturday 86-43.
Josh Gasser had 14 points, while Nigel Hayes added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Badgers (10-1). Frank Kaminsky and Vitto Brown scored 10 apiece.
Nicholls State (1-5) was led by Amin Torres with 14 points.
Dekker had been bothered by an ankle injury and was held to just five points in a loss to Duke Dec. 3 and two points in a win over Marquette a week ago. But he dropped 17 points on Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Wednesday and showed no hesitancy driving the lane Saturday or diving on the floor.
Along with the 17 points, Dekker grabbed five rebounds, had three assists and two blocks.
The game was over early. Wisconsin shot 70 percent from the floor in the first half, had 11 assists on the 19 shots it made and grabbed 21 rebounds. It took the Badgers just 14 minutes to build a 31-point lead as Kaminsky stole the ball at the top of the key and went coast-to-coast for a dunk that made it 37-6.
Nicholls State, meanwhile, was the polar opposite. The Colonels shot 24 percent and committed eight first-half turnovers. They picked it up in the second half, but still shot just 35 percent from the field in their worst offensive performance of the season. They averaged 66 points a game coming in, but scored fewer points in the game than the Badgers did in the first half (47).
Wisconsin freshman guard Riley Dearring, who’s appeared in six games this season and scored 11 points, was out Saturday with a hand injury. . The Badgers now have eight days off for final exams. . Members of the Wisconsin football team, which plays Auburn in the Outback Bowl Jan. 1, were introduced at halftime.
It was the first meeting with Wisconsin for Nicholls State, which was tabbed to finish eighth in the 13-team Southland Conference. The Colonels’ only senior, Schane Rillieux, is out for the season with a broken foot.
Wisconsin plays at California Dec. 22.
Nicholls State hosts Arkansas-Monticello Tuesday.
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