MADISON, Wis. — Reserve Sam Dekker matched his career high with 19 points to lead No. 17 Wisconsin to a 77-46 victory over Nebraska on Tuesday night.
Ryan Evans added 14 points and Ben Brust had 13 for the Badgers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten).
Wisconsin's win, coupled with No. 1 Indiana's loss to Minnesota, put the Badgers one game back in the Big Ten race with three games to play for both teams.
Dylan Talley had 21 points and eight rebounds for the Cornhuskers (13-15, 4-11), while Brandon Ubel added 10 points.
Wisconsin took control of the game early with a barrage of 3-pointers and then cruised to the blowout as Nebraska's offense disappeared.
The Badgers opened the game 8 for 11 from behind the arc, and five came in a spurt that turned a 10-8 deficit into a 35-14 lead. Dekker accounted for 11 points in the 27-4 run, including three 3s.
Nebraska cut the lead to 14 on a quick 7-0 run, but the Badgers finished the half on a 9-2 spurt to lead 44-23 at halftime.
The Badgers were a model of efficiency in the first half with 13 assists on 16 field goals as they shot better than 59 percent from the field, tied for their best opening half in conference play
Nebraska, meanwhile, made just one of its first 18 shots from the field to open the second half, scoring just three points over a more than 11-minute stretch. That allowed the Badgers to push their lead to 64-26 with just over 8 minutes to go.
The Cornhuskers shot 33 percent for the game and had just six assists to 10 turnovers.
Things went so well for Wisconsin offensively that even Evans had a good game from the free throw line. Coming in shooting less than 41 percent from the stripe, Evans unveiled a new approach, taking one step back from the line and taking a jump shot. While unusual, it worked as Evans hit both free throws.
Jared Berggren finished with four blocks to make him Wisconsin's all-time leader at 126. He came into the game trailing Rashard Griffith (124) by two.