MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin coach Greg Gard says having a deep team sometimes can be both a blessing and a curse because of the challenges it causes in the distribution of playing time.

It was a lot more of the former than the latter on Saturday.

Tyler Wahl scored 17 points and the 21st-ranked Badgers beat Nebraska 88-72 to snap the Cornhuskers' five-game winning streak. Wisconsin has won four straight and 10 of 11.

The Badgers never trailed while capitalizing on a 36-18 edge in bench scoring.

“We get that second group in, we get the third group in and you don't really see a dip in the numbers, or if there is, it's not too much,” Wahl said.

Wisconsin shot 55% from the floor and went 13 of 26 from beyond the arc to post its highest 3-point basket total of the season.

“When they're hitting their shots, it's one of the top teams in the country,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Connor Essegian helped lead the bench production by scoring 12 points and shooting 4 of 7 from 3-point range. After scoring 11.7 points per game as a freshman last season to rank third on the team, Essegian struggled with a back injury early this season and eventually fell from the rotation.

Four days after playing just 21 seconds in an 83-72 victory over Iowa, Essegian came off the bench less than eight minutes into Saturday’s game and made an immediate impact. Gard said he brought in Essegian early because of the sophomore's improved practice performance.

“Just kind of taking the adversity that came my way - starting with the back injury and all that - and just kind of taking it head-on and going at it and taking it to heart,” Essegian said. “I feel like it's made me a better basketball player to this point, even a better person as well.”

Wisconsin's Chucky Hepburn had 13 points, John Blackwell 12 and AJ Storr 10. Keisei Tominaga had 17 points, Rienk Mast 16 and Brice Williams 10 for Nebraska (12-3, 2-2).

Nebraska's Jamarques Lawrence jammed his thumb in the first half and Williams was helped off the floor after appearing to hurt his ankle late in the game. Hoiberg had no update on Williams' status afterward.

“I thought we were a little tired in our prep the last few days,” Hoiberg said. “It's something I really challenged them on for these next two days leading to Purdue. We have to have two of our best days of the season.”


Nebraska: The Cornhuskers shot 49.1% from the floor and 12 of 26 on 3-point attempts but still trailed by double digits throughout the last 30 minutes. Nebraska had averaged 15.5 steals over its last two games but had just four on Saturday.

Wisconsin: This is Wisconsin's second straight 3-0 start in Big Ten competition. Last year, the Badgers went 6-11 the rest of the way in the Big Ten and landed in the NIT. This year's team is deeper and seems more capable of avoiding a fade.


A win could have enabled Nebraska to earn its first Top 25 ranking since the week of Dec. 31, 2018.


Nebraska: Hosts No. 1 Purdue on Tuesday.

Wisconsin: At Ohio State on Wednesday.


Get poll alerts and updates on the AP Top 25 throughout the season. Sign up here.


AP college basketball: and

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.