Madison, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - The 12th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers put their perfect record on the line on Saturday night, as they host the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts as part of the Cancun Challenge.
Both teams are headed to Mexico early next week, and ORU is hoping to keep its unblemished record in the series with UW intact, as it has won both previous meetings. This bout marks the first encounter between the two since the Golden Eagles claimed a 102-69 triumph during the 1978 Louisville Holiday Classic.
Oral Roberts has alternated wins and losses in its first four games to open the season, taking down Tulsa (74-68) and Texas State (82-65), while falling to Kansas State (71-63) and Saint Louis (72-55). The Golden Eagles begin Southland Conference play at home against Houston Baptist on Jan. 2, 2014.
Wisconsin is 5-0 for the third time under head coach Bo Ryan, the team knocking off notable teams in St. John's (86-75) and Florida (59-53) the first two times out of the chute. An 88-64 triumph over visiting Bowling Green on Thursday improved the Badgers to 3-0 at home, and they will open Big Ten Conference action at Northwestern on Jan. 2, 2014.
With a record even at 2-2, the Golden Eagles are scoring (68.5 ppg) roughly the same number of points as they allow (69.0 ppg). The team boasts three double-digit scorers in the form of Obi Emegano (19.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), Shawn Glover (18.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Korey Billbury (10.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg). ORU owns a +5.0 rebounding margin, but is at -1.7 in turnovers. Glover hit for 18 points and D.J. Jackson tacked on a dozen more, but those efforts went for naught as the Golden Eagles dropped a 17-point decision at Saint Louis on Thursday. ORU had a rough game from long range (2-of-11), while committing 18 turnovers compared to only six for the Billikens.
Wisconsin has excelled at the offensive end of the court this season, putting up 81.0 ppg in hitting 49.8 percent of its total shots, which includes a 48.5 percent showing from beyond the arc. The team's defensive effort yields 68.6 ppg, which is somewhat uncharacteristic for a Ryan-coached squad, but foes are hitting only 26.9 percent of their 3-point tries. Frank Kaminsky (16.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg) heads a list of four players averaging double figures in scoring, and he is joined in the UW frontcourt by Sam Dekker (15.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg). Ben Brust has high man for the Badgers in the recent win over Bowling Green, as he nailed five 3-pointers on his way to 19 points. Kaminsky and Dekker tallied 14 apiece, as part of six total players to score at least 10 points. A 20-7 edge in points at the foul line certainly helped matters, as did the fact that the Falcons made only one of their nine long-range attempts.