Sports

Wisconsin overcomes early scare, devastates American 75-35 in NCAA tournament opener

  • Wisconsin guard Ben Brust (1) celebrates after scoring a three pointer during the second half of a second-round game against the American in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

    Wisconsin guard Ben Brust (1) celebrates after scoring a three pointer during the second half of a second-round game against the American in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)  (The Associated Press)

  • Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker (15) goes to the basket during the second half of a second-round game against the American in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

    Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker (15) goes to the basket during the second half of a second-round game against the American in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)  (The Associated Press)

  • Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan and players on the bench react for a three pointer shot by Wisconsin guard Ben Brust during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

    Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan and players on the bench react for a three pointer shot by Wisconsin guard Ben Brust during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)  (The Associated Press)

Ben Brust scored 17 points and Wisconsin devastated American with a 22-5 run to close the first half in a 75-35 victory Thursday before a friendly crowd in the NCAA tournament.

The second-seeded Badgers (27-7) recovered from a brief first-half rut and seven-point deficit to extinguish the dreams of the15th-seeded Eagles (20-13), champions of the Patriot League.

After Wisconsin was ousted in the first round last year as a fifth seed, Brust made sure his senior season didn't end the same way. He attacked the glass for buckets on back-to-back possessions, ending with a 3-point play with 3:33 left in the first half to give Wisconsin a 23-20 lead.

The rout was on. The Badgers hit 57 percent in the second half.

John Schoof had 11 points for American.