- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Wisconsin built its early season on offense, riding the strongest attack Bo Ryan has put together in his 12-plus seasons with the Badgers.

But in back-to-back losses to Northwestern and Ohio State, hot-shooting Wisconsin went cold.

That changed Tuesday night.

Wisconsin (18-5, 5-5 Big Ten) buried 10 3-pointers on the way to a 75-63 win over Illinois.

“You make shots, you got a chance,” Ryan said simply.

The 3-pointers were the difference, and Sam Dekker had four of them on seven attempts, including a couple of late ones under pressure that kept Illinois (13-10, 2-8) in a hole. The Badgers shot 43.5 percent from 3-point range and 47.8 percent overall.

“You make 10 3s at that percentage - we’ve got to defend better than that,” said Illinois coach John Groce, who particularly credited Dekker and his long-range shots. “A lot of those were at the end of the shot clock with the shot clock running down.”

The loss extended Illinois’ losing streak to eight, starting with a 95-70 blowout to the Badgers in Madison back on Jan. 8.

“We’re trying everything. I’m open to anything and everything,” a frustrated Groce said.

Dekker and Ben Brust scored 16 points apiece. Traevon Jackson and Nigel Hayes had 14 each.

Rayvonte Rice led Illinois with 24 points and nine rebounds.

The 3-pointers changed what had been a game of one- and two-point leads for much of the first half.

Dekker’s last 3-pointer made the score 66-57 with 2:38 to play and gave the Badgers a comfortable edge.

But the Badgers were also effective from the free throw line, and they were efficient in getting there. Wisconsin hit 80.8 percent of their free throws, going 21 for 26.

Jackson, Frank Kaminsky and Josh Gasser gave Wisconsin the edge on the boards. Between them they had 22 of the Badgers’ 31 rebounds.

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