CHICAGO — Fourth-seeded Wisconsin got 14 points each from Khalil Iverson and Nate Reuvers to take out 13th-seeded Nebraska 66-62 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday at the United Center.
Player of the Game: Khalil Iverson
The senior continues to amaze in his final stretch as a member of the Badgers. He was in double figures for a sixth time in seven games and it wasn’t just around the basket. Never known as a jump shooter, Iverson hit three pull-ups, including a step back jumper in the second half.
Iverson said he felt good in warm-ups from those same spots, predicting to a team that he was going to hit a bunch of them.
“Just being comfortable,” Iverson said of his success. “I know I can shoot those 18-footers and knock them down, because I work on it. Just have to be confident.”
The Ohio native also played his normal strong game defensively, harassing James Palmer Jr. into a 6-for-21 night, including 1 of 7 from beyond the arc.
The good: Supporting cast shows up
At one point late in the second half, the Badgers leading scorers coming into the game — Ethan Happ, Brad Davison and D’Mitrik Trice — had a combined nine points. When those guys struggle to score, Wisconsin usually struggles to win. But Iverson, along with Reuvers and Aleem Ford, picked up the slack. The 14 points Reuvers scored were the most for him since Jan. 23 and just the third time he’s been in double digits since then. Ford’s 11 points off the bench were huge and the second-most he’s had this year. He also showed toughness in the post grabbing a rebound and putting it back up for two points, while also diving and coming up with a loose ball in a critical situation.
The not so good: Ethan Happ
It was not a great day for the Badgers’ first-team All-Big Ten selection. The Huskers made it a priority to not let him beat them and they did a very good job of it. Happ finished with a season-low four points on just four shots. He had seven rebounds and four assists but also seven turnovers.
“I thought he was out of sorts from the beginning,” coach Greg Gard said. “Very uncharacteristic for him.”
Like Nebraska did on Thursday against Maryland’s Bruno Fernando, they ran guys at Happ from the start and forced him to make quick decisions in finding the open guy. Too often, that didn’t happen.
“I didn’t play well, obviously,” Happ said. “I want to help the team so much, attack and make plays for others but they made a concentrated effort to not let me score.”
Stat of the game: 17
That was how many turnovers Wisconsin had in the game, including 10 from Happ and Reuvers.
“Just an off day,” Reuvers said of the turnovers. “Maybe it was trying to make too big of a play. We just have to make the easy play rather than throwing the home run pass.”
Trice missed his first three shots, but hit a pair of monster 3-pointers in the final minutes, including this one that proved to be the dagger.
What they said:
In Case You Missed It:
— Wisconsin improved to 6-1 in its last seven games at the United Center, including four straight wins.
— Wisconsin shot 91.7-percent (11 of 12) from the free throw line, their best effort this season.
— Wisconsin hit 48.0-percent of their shots from the floor, their best game since hitting 51.1-percent against Illinois on Jan. 23.
Wisconsin (23-9, 14-6) will face top-seeded Michigan State (26-6, 16-4) in the Big Ten semifinals. The Spartans beat the Badgers in Madison on Feb. 12.