MADISON — No. 22 Wisconsin overcame a 12-point second-half deficit to beat North Carolina State 79-75 on Tuesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the Kohl Center.
Player of the Game: D’Mitrik Trice
Coming off a sub-par game against Virginia, Trice found his scoring touch once again. The sophomore had 18 points, including going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. He also distributed the ball well, handing out a season-high six assists in 34 minutes. His jumper from just inside the 3-point line with shot clock running down wasn’t quite the dagger, but it put Wisconsin up 76-73 with 23 seconds left and proved to be all the points the Badgers would need.
Through seven games, Trice is averaging 17 points per game and shooting 60-percent from deep.
The good: Ethan Happ
Seven games and seven double-doubles for the Wisconsin senior. Happ finished with a team-high 19 points and 11 rebounds. After going just 3-for-11 in the first half that left the Badgers trailing by seven, the center scored 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting after the break to help his club overtake the Wolfpack.
The not so good: Free-throw shooting
Again. Like they did in another big win this year — a victory at Xavier — the Badgers struggled at the free throw line. Or perhaps more fairly, Trice and Happ struggled at the free throw line. The duo went a combined 5 of 12 from the stripe. It left Happ shooting 50 percent this season and Trice at 75 percent.
Luckily for Wisconsin, Brad Davison got the ball in the final seconds and drilled a pair of huge free throws to seal the game.
Stat of the game: 4
That’s how many charges Davison drew, the last coming with the Badgers up three and just 16 seconds remaining.
What they said:
“It was just a team win. It wasn’t relying on one or two guys. I don’t know if that’s how it would have been last year in a game like this. I think we’re a lot more balanced this year than we were last year. I think that’s what’s really helped us so far this season, and in this game, definitely.”
— Happ on all the different guys that contributed to the comeback victory
In Case You Missed It:
— Playing his first extended minutes of the season following knee surgery, Aleem Ford scored 12 points. The sophomore forward went 4-for-7 from 3-point range, including 3 of 4 in the second half.
— He only played nine minutes, but sophomore Trevor Anderson made an impact. He had five points over 23 seconds in the second half to help in Wisconsin’s comeback effort.
— Tuesday marked the first time Wisconsin had come back from a double-digit second-half deficit to win since Feb. 21, 2016 against Illinois.
— Wisconsin is now 10-10 all-time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge The 10 wins are tied with Purdue and Penn State for the most among Big Ten teams.
Wisconsin (6-1) will open Big Ten play on Friday against No. 14 Iowa (5-0).