Samford falls at Wisconsin in non-conference season finale

Sophomore guard Raijon Kelly knocked down four 3-point baskets Saturday and led the Bulldogs with 16 points. (Samford Athletics)

MADISON, Wis. -- In its final nonconference game of the 2012-13 regular season, the Samford University basketball team suffered an 87-51 defeat against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday in a tough, physical matchup held in front of 16,376 fans at the Kohl Center.{}"Coming into the game, I knew that Wisconsin was a very tough, well-coached basketball team," said Samford head coach Bennie Seltzer. "This is my seventh straight year going against (Wisconsin head coach Bo) Ryan and you know exactly what you're going to get from those players. There's nothing fancy, but those guys just come out, do their job with a workmanship attitude. I admire that. They play hard, they play smart, they're tough and they do things the right way, so we'll see if our team can try to emulate that for the rest of the season."{}Samford (3-11) faced Wisconsin (9-4) for the first time in school history and couldn't overcome a cold 21.4 -percent shooting performance from the field in the first half of play. The Bulldogs trailed 47-19 at the half before playing much better in the final 20 minutes of action.{}Samford shot 52.2 percent from the field and scored 32 points in the second half, but Wisconsin was able to continue its hot shooting in the final period. The Badgers closed out the contest shooting 52.5 percent from the field and a blazing 54.5 percent from long range in the second half.{}With the Bulldogs' strong second-half performance, Samford finished with three players scoring in double figures and was paced offensively by Raijon Kelly's 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field. Kelly, the Bulldogs' 6-foot-4 sophomore guard from St. Paul, Minn., also tallied three rebounds and a trio of assists, while draining 4-of-5 attempts from 3-point range.{}Samford's Connor Miller returned to his home state of Wisconsin on Saturday and finished with 12 points, four assists and three rebounds. The Bulldogs' native of nearby Stanley, Wis., went 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc in front of nearly 300 friends and family.{}"I thought Connor played well today," Seltzer said. "He really shot the ball well and that's because he's been in the gym working really hard. He went through some struggles a couple weeks ago shooting the ball, but his good performance today was a direct performance of the all the hard work he's put in. We depend on Connor a lot. He plays a lot of minutes and he's a key member of our basketball team. Without complaints, he tries to do everything that we ask him to do, so I'm glad that he played well today."{}Tim Williams, Samford's talented 6-foot-8 forward from Chicago, Ill., registered his 14th-consecutive double-digit performance of his young career Saturday. Only a true freshman, Williams scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds in his 14th game as a collegiate player.{}Wisconsin knocked down 12 3-point baskets against Samford and finished with five players scoring in doubles figures. The Badgers concluded the game with 14 players earning action and 11 scoring at least one point. Wisconsin used its depth to outscore Samford, 38-3, in bench points.{}The Badgers' Frank Kaminsky came off the bench to score a team-high 16 points in only 12 minutes of game action. Wisconsin's 6-foot-11 sophomore forward drained a career-high four 3-point baskets and turned in an unblemished 4-of-4 outing from long range. Heading into Saturday's contest, Kaminsky was 3-of-13 from long range.{}"Wisconsin shot the ball extremely well today," Seltzer said. "Look at Kaminsky and what he was able to do. He went 4-for-4 from 3-point range and (Sam) Dekkar goes 3-for-4, so they really shot the ball well. They also bring in a 6-foot-11 player, take him out and replace him with another 6-foot-11 guy, so they are very tough to guard. They are a big basketball team."{}Starters Ryan Evans, Mike Bruesewitz and Jared Berggren added 14, 13 and 10 points, respectively for the Badgers on Saturday, while highly-touted freshman Sam Dekkar tallied 12 points, four rebounds and four assists off the bench.{}Wisconsin shot a sizzling 58.1 percent from the field in the first half and took a 47-19 lead into the locker room. The Badgers went 6-of-10 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes of play and were led offensively by Bruesewitz's 13 points on a perfect 6-of-6 outing from the floor.{}"Bruesewitz is a big part of that Wisconsin team," said Seltzer. "I watched a couple of games from earlier this season that he had to miss with a concussion, and they are a different team without him. He brings some grit and some toughness to that front line and he's a kid that plays the right way. With his constant toughness and intensity, it's very evident how much he means to that team."{}Samford only shot 21.4 percent from the field in the first half, but knocked down a trio of 3-point baskets. Kelly turned in a team-high eight points in the opening period as he went 3-of-10 from the floor and 2-of-3 from long range.{}The Bulldogs only committed two turnovers in the first half, but Wisconsin didn't commit any. The Badgers entered the game averaging only 9.5 turnovers per contest this season.{}Wisconsin out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 43-22, on Saturday and outscored Samford, 32-18, in points in the paint. The Badgers led the game wire to wire and their biggest lead of the contest was 41 points, 80-39, with 4:49 remaining in the contest.{}"I'm happy our conference season starts now," said Seltzer. "We don't have anybody like Wisconsin in our league and that's a good thing."{}The Samford University basketball team will next be in action Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. (CST) as the Bulldogs resume SoCon play against the Chattanooga Mocs in a key league battle to be held at the Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala.