Four Wisconsin players scored in double digits. Ben Brust led the Badgers (5-3) with a season-high 22 points. Jared Berggren had 18 points, Ryan Evans 13, and Sam Dekker added 10 points for the home team.
Allen Crabbe had a game-high 25 for the Bears (6-1), who were looking to start the season with seven straight wins for the first time since 1959.
Cal came in averaging 74.7 points per game and had scored at least 68 in every game, but struggled mightily against Wisconsin's rugged defense—as many teams do. Junior guard Justin Cobbs added 11 points for the Bears, who shot 38.3 percent from the field.
Dekker scored six of his points in the 14-0 surge, which turned a 6-5 deficit into a 19-6 lead. Cal was 0 for 4 from the field and committed five turnovers in going scoreless for 4:35.
Berggren and Brust then each had five in the 12-0 spurt, which put the Badgers ahead 31-12 with 5:02 left in the first half. Dekker had the other basket in the run, an impressive reverse layup that drew one of the loudest cheers from the announced crowd of 16,596 at the Kohl Center.
The biggest ovation of the day, though, was for Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema and running backs Montee Ball, James White and Melvin Gordon. They walked out to center
Cobbs made two free throws to start the second half and pull Cal within 11 at 37-26, but that's the closest the Bears would get. Evans scored the first four and Berggren added the final seven points in the 11-0 run as Wisconsin extended its lead to 22 at 48-26.