MADISON — Brad Davison scored a career-high 30 points, but it wasn’t enough as Wisconsin fell to No. 2 Michigan State 68-63 on Sunday at the Kohl Center.
Player of the Game: Cassius Winston
The point guard was on fire against Wisconsin. He took six 3-pointers and hit all of them, including a couple in crunch time. His 3-pointer with 7:08 left gave the Spartans the lead back at 50-49, and less than three minutes later, he drilled another to push Michigan State’s lead to 58-51. The sophomore added six rebounds and five assists as the Spartans claimed the win and the outright Big Ten title.
The good: Brad Davison
What more can you say about the Wisconsin freshman? Despite his shoulder popping out of place for a fifth time this season — and having it put back in — Davison scored a career-high 30 points, including 23 in the second half. During one stretch, the Minnesota native scored 11 straight points for the Badgers as they made their comeback.
Davison became the first freshman at Wisconsin to have a 30-point game since Sam Okey in 1996, and he’s scored at least 14 points in four of the Badgers last six games — a stretch that has seen them play their best basketball of the year in compiling a 4-2 record.
“His mentality, his approach and his competitiveness has become infectious,” coach Greg Gard said. “I think that’s part of the reason we’ve surged here is because [his] presence is starting to infiltrate other areas [of the team].”
The not so good: Rebounding
Michigan State out rebounded Wisconsin 40-28, but it felt like the gap was even bigger than that. The Spartans got 13 offensive rebounds and managed to turn that into 15 points. The Badgers had some success (12 offensive rebounds, 17 second-chance points), but the size of Michigan State clearly bothered them.
Stat of the game: 9 of 24
That was what Wisconsin shot on layups on Saturday. That included Ethan Happ making just 5 of his 15 shots in the paint, in what was largely a tough afternoon for the junior.
What they said:
“I just told them we’d rather beat them next week anyways. We control our own destiny. It’s not college football. It’s college basketball where the regular season is kind of washed away. We control our own destiny.
“Like I said, this thing is far from over.”
Davison on what his message to the locker room was after game. The Badgers would face Michigan State again if they can beat Maryland on Thursday in the Big Ten tournament.
In Case You Missed It:
— Sunday was Senior Day, with fifth-year senior Aaron Moesch and fourth-year juniors Matt Ferris and T.J. Schlundt being honored.
— After playing a total of nine minutes in the last eight games combined, junior Charles Thomas played 11 against the Spartans, scoring six points and grabbing a pair of rebounds.
— For the first time since Dec. 2, Khalil Iverson was held scoreless. The junior, as usual, was solid defensively, playing a big role in Wisconsin slowing sophomore Miles Bridges for much of the game.
Wisconsin (14-17, 7-11) travels to New York City to take on Maryland (19-12, 8-10) in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.