SAN JOSE, Calif. — 12th-seeded Oregon exploded in the second half to turn a close game into a 72-54 victory and end fifth-seeded Wisconsin’s season on Friday night.
Player of the Game: Payton Pritchard
Wisconsin recruited the junior point guard hard when he was coming out of high school and everyone saw why. Pritchard routinely broke down the Badgers’ defense and either finished at the rim or found one of his teammates for an easy basket. He finished with a team-high 19 points, including 12 in the first half, while also handing out eight assists and picking up a pair of steals. Yes, he did turn the ball over seven times, but his ability to routinely get inside is something Wisconsin had few answers for.
The good: Khalil Iverson
The senior was once again pretty effective offensively, tying Ethan Happ for a team-high 12 points. His late dunk in the first half allowed Wisconsin to go into the break tied at 25 and then he came out and hit a 3-pointer early in the second half. For most, that wouldn’t be big news, but it was Iverson’s first bucket from beyond the arc since January of 2017. He had missed his last 31 shots from deep coming in. Iverson finished his career scoring in double figures in seven of his final nine games.
The not so good: The shooting
Wisconsin was a good shooting team for the first 22 games of the season, hitting 40.3-percent from deep. The Badgers were an abysmal shooting team for the final 12 games, knocking down 27.7-percent of their 3-pointers. That included Friday, when Wisconsin shot a miserable 6-for-30 from beyond the arc. Perhaps the most irritating thing for the Badgers was that many of them were wide open looks.
It led to a 33.3-percent shooting night overall, the Badgers worst effort in an NCAA tournament game since making just 32.1-percent in a win vs Pittsburgh in 2016.
Stat of the game: 4
That’s how many blocked shots Oregon’s Kenny Wooten had, though it certainly felt like more. It included two on Nate Reuvers on one possession with the Ducks’ lead sitting at 10 and Wisconsin desperate for a basket with about four minutes left.
What they said:
Brad Davison on the emotion of it being Ethan Happ and the rest of the seniors last game:
“Dating back to last year, one of the reasons he came back was to get back to this tournament and make a run. We were all in that together. I feel like we let him down in a lot of senses, because we didn’t perform our best. That’s when you have regrets. When you don’t play your best. We left it all on the floor but we just couldn’t get over that hump. It hurts a lot. Not just Ethan, but the rest of the seniors, (too).”
In Case You Missed It:
— The game was the first NCAA tournament action for Reuvers, Brad Davison, Kobe King, Aleem Ford and Walt McGrory.
— Wisconsin failed to win at least one game in the NCAA tournament for just the fourth time in its last 19 appearances.
— Wisconsin lost its final two games by double digits — the only times all year the Badgers were beat by more than 10 points.
— Among the former Badgers in the crowd was forward Duje Dukan.
— Happ finished his career among the all-time leaders in nearly every statistical category at UW: 2,130 points (3rd), 1,217 rebounds (1st), 423 assists (3rd), 217 steals (2nd) and 154 blocks (1st).
Wisconsin’s season is over at 23-11.