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Evans started out just like he did in the Badgers’ NCAA opener, when he sank his first four baskets and scored nine straight points to give Wisconsin a 14-5 lead on its way to a 25-point blowout of Montana.

This time, he hit a jumper, a 3-pointer and a bank shot from the paint before the Commodores knew what hit them, then added a free throw that gave the Badgers a quick 10-2 lead.

Ezili was an onlooker as Commodores coach Kevin Stallings started Steve Tchiengang instead. Ezili entered the game at the 16:50 mark with Vandy trailing 7-2.

Unlike the Grizzlies 48 hours earlier, Vandy settled down and settled in to keep the Badgers from running away with this one. Although they didn’t lead in the first 20 minutes, the Commodores pulled to 32-31 at the break on Brad Tinsley’s NBA-long 3-pointer at the buzzer following a timeout with 3.6 seconds left.

Neither team got many second-chance points because both teams had just three offensive rebounds in the first half. The bigger issue for Vanderbilt was Jeffery Taylor’s goose egg in the first half, when he also had just one rebound.

He promptly gave the Commodores their first lead when he swished a short jumper 23 seconds into the second half, but the Badgers responded with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer by Jordan Taylor following a steal by Bruesewitz.