Wisconsin’s Brad Davison wins Freshman of the Week

Wisconsin freshman Brad Davison was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second time this season on Monday, the conference announced.

Davison averaged 18.0 points, 3.3 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in the week that saw Wisconsin finish 2-1. He had 19 points in the overtime victory over Minnesota on Monday. In that game Davison also recorded a career-high five 3-pointers and four steals.

On Sunday in Wisconsin’s regular season finale Davison totaled a career-high 30 points in Wisconsin’s 68-63 loss to Michigan State. He also had three rebounds and a pair of assists on the day. Davison was the first freshman at Wisconsin to record a 30-point game since Sam Okey did so against UW-Milwaukee on December 10, 1996.

Davison also was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on November 27, 2017.

Wisconsin finished the regular season with a record of 14-17. The Badgers are the ninth seed in the Big Ten Tournament that begins later this week at Madison Square Garden in New York. They face the University of Maryland on Thursday at 11am (CT).

(2) Michigan State 68, Wisconsin 63: Last word

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.

What’s Next

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.

Wisconsin 73, Minnesota 63 (OT): Last word

MADISON — For a second straight game, Wisconsin used a late comeback to get a win at home, this time taking down Minnesota 73-63 in overtime on Monday night at the Kohl Center.

Player of the Game: Brevin Pritzl

Former Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes said last year that Brevin Pritzl was the best shooter in the country. While that hasn’t always seemed like the case this year, it certainly felt that way on Monday night, especially late for the Badgers.

The sophomore drilled 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, scoring a career-high 20 points in the victory. Four of those came in the final 6:17 of regulation and in overtime.

Over his last four games, Pritzl is shooting 57.1-percent from deep.

“The shooting has been a byproduct of him being really engaged in the game in other areas,” coach Greg Gard said of Pritzl, who had three rebounds, an assist and a block in 37 minutes. “Obviously, I’m happy for him, but I’m more pleased and more satisfied as a coach to see those other things come to fruition.

“I’ve always known he’s a good shooter. I’ve watched him every day all the way back to high school when I recruited him. The kid can shoot the ball. But that’s not the only part of a players’ game. He’s been growing in those other areas, and now he’s becoming a more reliable, dependable, consistent player.”

The good: The comeback

Wisconsin trailed 58-51 with 5:58 left in the game following a 3-pointer from Jordan Murphy. The defense hadn’t been atrocious, but it also wasn’t the same stingy unit that showed up against Purdue last Thursday. That all changed in an instant. The Gophers would score just one field goal the rest of the way as the Badgers outscored them 22-5 to end the game.

“Coach challenged us,” freshman Brad Davison said. “He just told us to draw the line…We had to come together. We had to get stops down the line. That’s what gave us the opportunity to get back into the game.”

The not so good: Tough shooting night for Aleem Ford

Redshirt freshman Aleem Ford has been Wisconsin’s best 3-point shooter this year, hitting 44.8 percent coming into Monday’s game. But he had a tough night, going just 1 of 8 from deep. It comes after he hit just 1 of 7 against Purdue last Thursday.

Still, Ford made a positive impact on both ends against Minnesota. He had four rebounds, three assists, one steal and it was his tip-out of a missed free throw that gave Wisconsin a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Stat of the game: 1

That’s how many field goals Ethan Happ had prior to his game-tying basket in the final seconds of regulation. Wisconsin’s leading scorer — and coming off three straight games of at least 20 points — Happ faced double teams all night. But on the final play of regulation, and with Minnesota trying to foul him, Happ managed to get free on a spin move and got his jump hook to go down.

“He wanted it, so we called the one that goes to him,” Gard said of Happ. “Right in the huddle, he wanted the ball. So, you go with the guy that has done it a lot for us.”

Happ finished with 10 points, four rebounds, five assists and a couple of huge blocks.

What they said:

“Yeah, I think he definitely got tripped. I have to take a look at it again to make sure I’m right, but I think he pretty much got tripped. It was a hard play. End of game play. You don’t see very many calls there.”

Minnesota forward Jordan Murphy on Nate Mason’s drive and missed shot at the end of regulation, per the Star-Tribune.

In Case You Missed It:

— 5-star recruit Jalen Johnson attended the game. The Sun Prairie, Wis., product is Wisconsin’s top priority in the 2020 class. His teammate, Marlon Ruffin, also was at the game. He is a potential walk-on candidate for the Badgers in the 2018 class.

— Davison kept Wisconsin in the game early, knocking down 4 of 5 from beyond the arc in the first half. He added a fifth in the second half, tying his career-high for a single game.

Khalil Iverson had seven points, but really did his best work on the glass and on defense. Days after grabbing a career-high 10 boards against Purdue, the junior grabbed 12 against the Gophers, including four on the offensive end. He also pestered Nate Mason much of the night, with the Gophers’ second-leading scorer ending up with 11 points on 5 of 18 shooting.

— With the win, Wisconsin guaranteed itself a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament next week in New York City. The Badgers first game will come on Thursday, with the exact time still to be decided.

— A nod to Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal for this stat: The win means the Badgers will finish ahead of Minnesota in the Big Ten for a 20th straight season.

What’s Next

Wisconsin (13-16, 6-10) travels to Northwestern (15-14, 6-10) on Thursday night.

Last shots: Wisconsin 57, (6) Purdue 53

MADISON – Sixteen last shots for the 16 points scored by Brad Davison in Wisconsin’s 57-53 win over Purdue on Thursday night.

1. In a season where so much has gone wrong for Wisconsin, Badgers fans finally have a night to remember. The team had not won a game inside the Kohl Center in nearly a month while experiencing the worst season in two decades. While the game itself may not have much meaning in the long run, it’s a night fans will be able to look back upon and smile.

2. The night not only belonged to the fans, many of whom found themselves on the hardwood following the game, but also Frank Kaminsky’s. His No. 44 was raised to the rafters of the Kohl Center during a halftime ceremony. The 2015 consensus player of the year was honored throughout the night with various videos, a pregame ceremony and one at halftime as well.

3. Only a few players on the 2017-18 version of the Badgers were rostered while Kaminsky was dominating for Wisconsin. The player still around that he had the most impact on was unquestionably forward Ethan Happ.

4. “To put it nicely, go kick some butt,” Happ said that Kaminsky told him while the two shared a moment prior to the game against Purdue.

5. While Kaminsky obviously couldn’t suit up for the Badgers on Thursday night, it’s easy to believe that his presence brought a little more energy to the building. The crowd at the Kohl Center hasn’t had much to cheer about for the past couple months. Kaminsky’s night assured them that they would have something positive to cheer for, that may have spilled over and energized the team more so than at many times this season.

6. The game itself wasn’t the most beautiful display of basketball, to put it lightly. Neither team played well on the offensive end as this game resembled an old-school, defensive Big Ten struggle. Neither team shot the ball particularly well, both finishing below the 40% mark overall, and combining to shoot 8-of-38 from 3-point range.

7. Much has been made recently of Wisconsin starting off games slowly on both ends. They trailed Purdue 12-0 in the first matchup between the teams last month. They’ve fallen behind early in many of their games as of late. Thursday night they didn’t get off to a great start, but it wasn’t quite as bad as it had been.

8. Wisconsin was trailing Purdue 9-2 with 14 minutes left in the first half. The seven-point lead was the largest of the night for Purdue. The Badgers then went on a quick 5-0 run thanks to a layup from T.J. Schlundt and a 3-pointer by guard Brad Davison.

9. The second half seemed like a scoring outburst after the two teams went to the locker room locked at 21 at halftime. Purdue and Wisconsin combined to shoot 18-of-55 from the floor in the first half, neither team reached the free throw line, and the teams combined for 12 turnovers.

10. Wisconsin has been playing much better in the second half of games as of late. There was a time on Thursday when it looked like that had changed. After the Badgers held a 32-29 lead following a jumper by Davison with 12:32 left in regulation, Purdue went on a 10-0 run to take a 39-32 lead.

11. The way the season has gone for Wisconsin, especially with a top 10 team in the country inside the Kohl Center, it would not have surprised many to see the game get away from them. Instead, the Badgers responded with a 15-4 run to take a 47-43 lead with 3:38 left.

12. Once they took the lead on a pair of free throws from Davison they never looked back.

13. Wisconsin was able to knock down enough free throws down the stretch to hold the Boilermakers off. This was despite Happ fouling out when he fouled Purdue’s Carsen Edwards on a 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining. After he knocked down 2-of-3, Wisconsin guard Brevin Pritzl was able to step to the line on back-to-back possessions and hit 3-of-4 foul shots to secure the win.

14. Isaac Haas for Purdue did beat the buzzer with a tip-in to create the 57-53 final in favor of Wisconsin, and seconds later fans were partying with the team on the oversized Motion W at center court. After the season endured by the Badgers it was a refreshing moment for the program, even if court-storming isn’t something Wisconsin is used to.

15. “Personally, it was nuts. I was sweating from the game, I was already yelling,” Happ said of the fans storming the court. “Once I was surrounded by all the fans I started to overheat a little bit. I had [Zak Showalter] jump into my arms, I wasn’t expecting that. I thought we were just going to embrace each other but he jumped into my arms and I grabbed him. Just like old times, I guess.”

16. The Badgers will be back in action at the Kohl Center on Monday night against Minnesota.

Wisconsin falls to Maryland 68-63

Just when things looked like they may start to get better for Wisconsin, they got worse. The Badgers tied the game at 60 on an Aleem Ford 3-pointer with 2:38 remaining, but were then outscored 8-3 over the rest of regulation.

Wisconsin (10-15, 3-9) had an opportunity to tie the game on its last possession, but guard Brad Davison made an ill-advised drive to the rim as opposed to attempting a 3-pointer to try and tie the game. On the possession prior, Davison hit a 3-pointer that brought Wisconsin within one-point at 64-63. Maryland’s Anthony Cowan knocked down a pair of free throws to push the lead to 66-63 before Wisconsin’s last chance.

After Davison’s inexplicable final possession, Cowan knocked down another pair of free throws to ice the game and give him a game-high 23 points on the afternoon.

Four of the five starters for Wisconsin reached double-figures in scoring, with Khalil Iverson, who scored eight points, being the exception. The Badgers did not get a single point off the bench in the loss. Forward Ethan Happ was the leading scorer for Wisconsin. He had 18 points, nine rebounds, and three assists in the loss.

Wisconsin has now dropped five games in a row, dating back to January 19. They’re 1-10 away from the Kohl Center this season. They have two road games remaining on the schedule, including their next game at Illinois on Thursday night.

Last shots: Northwestern 60, Wisconsin 52

MADISON – The Wisconsin Badgers lost their fourth consecutive game on Thursday night 60-52 to the Northwestern Wildcats.

Fifteen last shots for the team-high 15 points scored by Wisconsin’s Khalil Iverson.

1. Against Northwestern on Thursday night Wisconsin picked up right where it left off in Monday night’s loss at home against Nebraska. The Badgers closed that game by being outscored 30-8 over the last 9:59 of the game. They opened the loss to Northwestern by falling behind 18-1 in the first 5:31. The lone point scored by Wisconsin that far into the game was a free throw from Ethan Happ.

2. Despite the sloppy start, Wisconsin was able to cut Northwestern’s lead to single-digits late in the first half before the Wildcats eventually entered the break with an 11-point advantage.

3. In the second half Wisconsin was able to get as close as six points, but couldn’t find its way any closer than that despite ample opportunity. The Badgers missed numerous attempts near the rim and open 3-pointers.

4. Guard Brevin Pritzl may have had the worst night of his career, he finished without scoring in 35 minutes. He missed all 11 shots he attempted, nine of them behind the 3-point line. While at first it seemed as if his misses were the result of unlucky bounces, as the game wore on Pritzl seemed to grow hesitant with his shot. As a result, his misses worsened.

5. One of the media timeouts did feature Pritzl in a pre-recorded game of ‘P-I-G’ with assistant coach Dean Oliver. He made all three shots that he attempted in the clip. Oliver drew iron on each shot, giving Pritzl the easy victory. Unfortunately for Pritzl, that clip was the best part of his night.

6. In the second half Wisconsin actually outscored Northwestern 26-23. They closed the game much stronger than they started it. Unfortunately for the Badgers the first five minutes count the same as the last.

7. “We’ve been talking recently so much about how we start games,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “It’s been engrained to me as a kid. Any of you guys that follow basketball you know my dad [Doug] as an analyst of the game, and his thing was always how basketball was not a fourth quarter game, it’s a first quarter game. How you start the game, we always look at the last five minutes or the last four minutes, but how you start sets the tone for the game.”

8. The start did Wisconsin in. Not many teams have the capability to return from a 17-point deficit in a game. The short-handed Badgers, who have now lost seven of their last eight, certainly don’t. Before six minutes had passed, Northwestern had an 88.1% chance to win the game, according to ESPN’s win probability.

9. The loss wasn’t without bright spots for Wisconsin, as bad as things may seem. Forward Khalil Iverson had a solid night on both ends of the floor. He was Wisconsin’s leading scorer with 15 points and was just shy of a double-double, with nine rebounds.

10. Iverson was also the best defender on the floor for the Badgers throughout the night. He finished with a pair of blocks and three steals in 35 minutes played. Iverson was the best player on the floor for Wisconsin in the loss.

11. Aleem Ford also had a good showing for Wisconsin, primarily shooting the ball. He scored 12 points, with all of them coming on 3-pointers. He finished the night 4-6 from deep.

12. Ford and Brad Davison combined to hit all seven of Wisconsin’s 3-pointers. As previously mentioned, Pritzl was 0-for-9 shooting 3-pointers, T.J. Schlundt missed a pair of 3-pointers, and Alex Illikainen missed the only attempt he took from deep.

13. This loss drops Wisconsin into 12th place in the Big Ten. While things are far from set in stone, it’s looking likely that Wisconsin will be playing on the first day of the Big Ten tournament later this month. That hasn’t happened for the Badgers since 2000. Back in 2000 the Big Ten was comprised of only 11 teams, compared to the 14 today. Wisconsin was the six seed in the conference tournament, narrowly missing out on the first-round bye that went to the top five schools. As the Big Ten tournament is currently constructed, the top 10 teams receive a bye into the second round.

14. This Wisconsin team does have an opportunity to make some history, as well. According to basketball-reference.com the Badgers have played at least one game in the month of March in every season since at least 1949-50. If they lose in the first round of the Big Ten tournament they would fail to reach the month of March. That streak may go back further than March of 1950, however that is the earliest schedule available to find.

15. Wisconsin will look to snap their four-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon at Maryland. The Badgers also have lost their last six games away from the Kohl Center.

Last shots: Wisconsin 75, Illinois 50

MADISON – The Wisconsin Badgers snapped their losing streak at three games on Friday night with a 75-50 victory over Illinois at the Kohl Center.

Thirteen last shots for Khalil Iverson’s 13 points against the Fighting Illini on Friday night.

1. The game started off extremely sloppy for everyone involved. The first possession for each team resulted in a turnover, the first made field goal of the game wasn’t until Illinois’ Leron Black knocked down a jumper at the 17:27 mark. The first half also saw multiple needs to adjust the clock and even an incidental buzzer causing a pause in play.

2. After the slow, sloppy start, the Badgers were able to put their foot on the gas pedal offensively mostly thanks to guard Brevin Pritzl. He finished the game with 16 points in 37 minutes on the court. Pritzl scored 13 of his points in the first half. He was in a great rhythm early on, knocking down both 3-pointers he attempted in the first half. He finished the first half 5-of-8 shooting while playing all 20 minutes.

3. In the second half Pritzl wasn’t in the same rhythm. He was just 1-of-7 from the floor, with the lone make a banked in 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock with 14:14 left in regulation to put Wisconsin up 56-38. That was their largest lead of the night at that point.

4. Despite Pritzl and forward Ethan Happ both scoring 16 points, neither one actually led Wisconsin in the scoring column. Guard Brad Davison had a relatively quiet 18 points on the night. The quietness of his scoring can be attributed to the fact that he finished the night with only six field goal attempts. He did the majority of his scoring from the free throw line, where he knocked down all 10 of his attempts.

5. The 18 points for Davison was a Big Ten season-high. He’s the Big Ten freshman leader in scoring currently, averaging 12.1 points per game. Davison also became the first player for Wisconsin to be perfect from the free throw line with at least 10 attempts since Nigel Hayes did so in 2016, per UW.

6. Speaking of Happ, he finished the night with his eighth double-double of the season. He had 10 rebounds and five assists in addition to his 16 points. This is the fifth double-double in the last seven games for Happ.

7. Happ once again did a terrific job passing out of double-team situations, as he has all season long. That’s one of the more dangerous parts of his game offensively, especially considering his outside game isn’t operational at a very high level at the moment.

8. The fourth and final player to reach double-figures in scoring was forward Khalil Iverson. He finished the night with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Iverson has been inconsistent on that end of the floor throughout the season. He’s had nights where the Badgers have relied on his scoring to get by and he’s had nights where he hasn’t attempted a single shot. Wisconsin doesn’t know what they’re going to get out of him on a regular basis offensively.

9. Iverson is a solid defender and definitely more consistent on that end of the floor. He’s only had five games this season where he has failed to record either a block of a steal. The Badgers are 2-3 in those games, including losses by 25 and 28 points to Ohio State and Purdue, respectively. The two victories came against South Carolina State and UW-Milwaukee with the third loss being against Baylor. Iverson matched a career high with three blocks against Illinois. He also had a pair of steals.

10. While Iverson blocked three shots, he was outshined in that area by freshman forward Nate Reuvers who finished with five blocks on the night. Reuvers leads Wisconsin with 21 blocks on the season despite sitting out the first five games of the season due to an uncertainty over redshirting.

11. As a team Wisconsin tallied 10 blocks. That mark is their highest in a single game since they denied the Indiana Hoosiers 10 times on March 16, 2013.

12. The Badgers have now knocked off Illinois in 12 straight matchups. The last win for Illinois over Wisconsin came on January 2, 2011 when the then 23rd ranked Fighting Illini defeated the Badgers 69-61 at Assembly Hall.

13. Wisconsin will be back in action Tuesday night on the road against Iowa. Tip-off is set for 6PM CST.