- Associated Press - Thursday, March 20, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - For about 10 minutes Thursday, underdog American followed the upset script to perfection.

A small school flustered a high seed with a rarely-seen offense, and played tough defense to contain the more athletic opponent before an unfriendly crowd.

Things fell apart in a hurry.

Ben Brust scored 17 points and second-seeded Wisconsin stormed past No. 15 seed American with a 22-5 run to close the first half in a 75-35 victory in Milwaukee, barely 90 minutes from the Badgers‘ home in Madison.

“No, it was mostly their team,” coach Mike Brennan said quickly to laughs when asked if the fans played a role in the loss. “Obviously it affected little swings here and there. … We couldn’t score. They stopped us stone cold.”

Until about the 10-minute mark of the first half, it was American in control with a surprising 17-10 lead.

The Badgers (27-7) answered in devastating fashion. The momentum started slowly before Wisconsin shut down the Princeton-style offense and steamrolled American (20-13) the rest of the way. The Eagles were held to 4-of-26 shooting over the game’s final 29 minutes.

“They don’t give up any easy shots at all. So you really have to work for anything that you get,” Brennan said. “A team like that can just completely shut out a team.”

One field-goal drought lasted nearly 14 minutes in the second half.

“That’s pretty crazy,” guard Josh Gasser said. “That must mean you did something well.”

John Schoof and Tony Wroblicky each had 11 points for the Eagles, which must settle for the satisfaction of their Patriot League tourney title and an NCAA bid in Brennan’s first season.

Tough defense and the Princeton offense were trademarks in their otherwise successful season. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was so impressed after watching film with how American ran the scheme that he said he had nightmares of getting beat repeatedly on backdoor cuts.

“Every time I kept watching, I kept looking at things they were doing that I was extremely impressed with,” Ryan said.

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 of their shots in the second half on the way to their largest margin of victory in the school’s 44 NCAA postseason games.

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