No. 25 Wisconsin came up short in its bid for the Battle 4 Atlantis title, losing 53-46 to No. 4 Virginia on Friday in the Bahamas.
The Cavaliers dominated the first half, building a 15-point lead, which against their defense, tends to feel like a 30-point deficit. But the Badgers fought back, outscoring Virginia 28-20 in the second half. It wasn’t enough, but it left coach Greg Gard feeling positive.
“Extremely proud of how we battled back,” Gard said, according to the team’s Twitter account. “I thought we showed something in that second half.”
Ethan Happ finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, but also had six turnovers and didn’t get much help from the rest of the lineup. D’Mitrik Trice, who scored a career-high 25 in the semifinal win over Oklahoma, managed just five against Virginia, including missing both of his 3-point attempts. Khalil Iverson was the second-leading scorer with seven points, while also grabbing six rebounds.
De’Andre Hunter had a team-high 20 points for Virginia, but the Cavaliers didn’t shoot well overall, hitting just 37-percent of their shots. Where they won the game was at the free throw line (9 of 12) and committing just five turnovers. In comparison, the Badgers made it to the line just three times and had 13 turnovers.
Happ, who could end up with the school record for free throw attempts, didn’t get to the line for the first time since Dec. 23, 2017 and it was just the eighth time in 111 career games he didn’t shoot a free throw.
Wisconsin put two players — Happ and Trice — on the All-Tournament team.
The Badgers (5-1) will now come home to face North Carolina State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday at the Kohl Center.