(23) UCLA 72, Wisconsin 70: Last word

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Aaron Holiday hit a layup with .8 seconds left to give No. 23 UCLA a 72-70 win over Wisconsin Tuesday night in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Classic.

Player of the Game: Holiday

It wasn’t an overwhelming effort for 40 minutes from the UCLA guard, but he took over down the stretch, scoring the Bruins final 10 points. That included a 3-pointer to give them a 70-67 lead and then the game-winner where he managed to just barely evade the reach of Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ at the rim.

“I said it since I saw him in high school. He’s my pitbull,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “You just turn him loose. And when you turn him loose, I’ve got all the confidence in the world…he’s pretty good at making those shots and those plays.”

The good: The energy

Wisconsin was lethargic to start the game against Baylor on Monday, and it clearly bothered coach Greg Gard. So much so that he suggested potential changes to the lineup could be coming and that’s exactly what happened. He moved freshman Brad Davison and redshirt freshman Aleem Ford into the starting lineup for sophomore Brevin Pritzl and junior Andy Van Vliet, respectively. And Gard got exactly what he was looking for, especially in terms of the kind of intensity his team showed from the opening tip.

“I thought we were pretty active defensively,” Gard said of the change. “I saw a lot of red jerseys diving on the floor. We were the first to the ball. We had faces on the ball as we like to call it.”

Davison scored 14 points and had two rebounds, while also taking four charges. He was one of four Badgers to play at least 33 minutes as Gard, like he said he would on Monday, played the guys that proved they were ready for the moment.

“We’ll continue to evaluate that,” Gard said of the lineup change. “It’s not set in stone. I don’t think I need to set it in stone. They understand you have to earn it to keep it.”

The not so good: Late game issues

In their first two losses of the season — to Xavier and Baylor — the Badgers were right there at the end of the game but couldn’t finish, playing some of their worst basketball in the final minutes. That was once again the case against UCLA. Wisconsin led by six with 3:29 to play, but the Badgers turned the ball over three times in the final eight possessions and scored just five points.

“We’re right there. I’m proud of our guys, how we’ve grown. We’ve been tested a lot of over the last three games,” said Gard of facing three straight ranked opponents. “Eventually, I think [we’ll have] a pretty good team, but it’s just a matter of [needing] to get over that hump and mature in areas to finish halves, finish possessions and finish out games in the way that you need to.”

Stat of the game: 23%

That’s Wisconsin’s 3-point percentage for the game, the third time in five games this year that the Badgers have shot worse than 31-percent from beyond the arc. And it came on a night when UCLA was red hot from deep, hitting 9 of 17 for the game, and going 7 for 9 in the second half alone.

It’s going to be tough for Wisconsin to win games when those two shooting percentages are so far apart.

What they said: The final play

Holdiay’s last-second layup was obviously the main topic after the game, including how Wisconsin played it.

Here’s a look at it from my seat inside the Sprint Center:

Here’s how Happ described it:

“Didn’t play it very well, I guess. Once Brad (Davison) poked it away, it kind of turned into a sporadic play for me. And I wasn’t sure if he was going to stay or not and then once I was matched with (Holiday) I wasn’t sitting down [in my stance] like I should have been.”

Here’s what Davison saw:

“I was supposed to go trap [Holiday]. I knocked it away and he got it. I was like oh, OK, then I had to get back [to my guy]. That was the goal. I was supposed to create some havoc. I think [poking it loose] kind of threw some things off, but [Holiday] is a great player and made a really good play. Have to give him credit.”

Davison on whether this kind of loss will help them down the road
Gard on if they can see the benefit of games like this

In Case You Missed It:

— Wisconsin had two freshmen — Davison and Ford — in its starting lineup for the first time since the 1997-98 season.

— Guard Kobe King came off the bench and had his most productive day of the season, scoring nine points in 17 minutes of action.

— Other than starting 0-1 in the 2015-16 season, this is the first time Wisconsin has been under .500 overall since Dec. 21, 2001. That was former coach Bo Ryan’s first year.

What’s Next

Wisconsin (2-3) will take on UW-Milwaukee (3-1) on Friday at the Kohl Center.

(22) Baylor 70, Wisconsin 65: Last word

KANSAS CITY, Mo., — Manu Lecomte scored a game-high 24 points as Baylor advanced to the championship game of the 2017 Hall of Fame Classic with a 70-65 win over Wisconsin on Monday night.

Wisconsin’s player of the game: Brad Davison

“He’s a tough one.”

Those were the words of coach Greg Gard about his fiery freshman guard after he scored 13 points, including 10 after he returned from being knocked out of the game with what looked like a pretty serious shoulder injury midway through the second half. Davison went into the locker room unable to move his left arm but was back on the floor a little more than two minutes later. And he wasn’t just taking up space — he play really well, serving as the ignitor of a 21-4 run that cut Baylor’s 19-point lead down to two.

“I’m not surprised given the level of his competitiveness and how he battles,” Gard said of Davison’s return. “I had to ask [the training staff if he was OK to go] because I thought he’d be one of those guys that would try to sneak back in on me before I said it was OK.”

The good: The rally

Wisconsin has shown a willingness to fight this year. The Badgers did it after falling behind early to Xavier in each half and were at it again on Monday night. Obviously, Davison was the catalyst, but Ethan Happ was also a force, scoring 10 of his team-high 23 points in the run that took it from a 53-34 game to 57-55 with 2:15 left. Wisconsin, like the Xavier game, wasn’t able to finish in the end, but it’s clear this team can be scrappy.

The not so good: The need for the rally

As scrappy a bunch as Wisconsin can be, the Badgers don’t come out of the gates that way. Whether it’s personnel or something else, their play has been anemic for large stretches, especially the last two times out against ranked opponents. It may simply be a case of guys not being ready for the stage that Gard is putting them on, something he’s clearly aware of.

“The one benefit, I guess, of playing this type of schedule, we’re finding out real fast, against some pretty good teams and players, who’s ready for this and who’s not quite there yet,” Gard said afterward. “The guys that are ready, we have to continue to have those combinations on the floor. And the guys that are not, we’ve got to continue to work with them to have them take steps forward.”

Stat of the game: 5 of 24

That was the shooting performance from guys in Wisconsin’s starting lineup not named Ethan Happ. The quartet of D’Mitrik Trice, Brevin Pritzl, Khalil Iverson and Andy Van Vliet struggled from all over the floor, including a 2 of 10 effort from beyond the arc. That the Badgers still had a chance to win in the final few minutes despite those issues speaks clearly to the play of Davison and Aleem Ford, who combined for 23 points off the bench.

What they said: Potential lineup changes

The calls for the Badgers to make changes to their lineup and rotations were loud after the loss to Xavier and grew louder following Monday night’s result. Based on his comments after the game, Gard might be of the same mindset.

“I’ve learned some things about our guys through that 40 minutes of who I need to have on the floor,” Gard said of the loss to Baylor. “I’ll go back through the film and really look at what I thought I saw in the live action and make some decisions from there. I’m not ruling out that there could be changes.”

It’s unclear what changes Gard will make, but it’s possible a move into the starting lineup by Davison and/or Ford could help with the slow starts. It could also mean a little less pressure on Van Vliet and/or Pritzl to produce at such a high level.

In Case You Missed It

— Former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was enshrined into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Kansas City, and was interviewed on the court prior to the Badgers game on Monday.

— Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez attended the enshrinement on Sunday and the game on Monday.

What’s Next

Wisconsin (2-2) will take on No. 23 UCLA (3-1) in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Classic on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Kansas City. The Bruins fell to Creighton on Monday 100-89.

Xavier 80, Wisconsin 70; Last shots

MADISON – The Wisconsin Badgers fell to the University of Xavier 80-70 on the hardwood Thursday night. Wisconsin got tremendous efforts out of Ethan Happ and Brad Davison, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 25 points from Xavier guard Trevon Bluiett.

Here are 16 last shots for the 16 minutes played by Wisconsin guard Brevin Pritzl against Xavier Thursday night:

1. Bluiett knocked down a pair of three-pointers late to seal the game for the Musketeers. That came after Wisconsin had fought back from down as many as seven in the second half.

2. Bluiett was quiet most of the night. He finished with 25 points, but 12 of them came in the final 2:25 of the game. Guard J.P. Macura also had a strong night for Xavier, finishing with 20 points on 10-of-15 shooting. He added in eight rebounds and four assists as well.

3. Xavier was the more experienced team on Thursday night, and that showed down the stretch as they outscored Wisconsin 16-4 over the last 2:55 of the game. Bluiett was huge in that stretch for the Musketeers, as he had 12 of the 16 points. Outside of that stretch, Wisconsin did a relatively good job containing him, but he was too much in the end.

4. Bluiett is a player that has played in many big moments over the course of his four seasons at Xavier. The fact of the matter was that outside of Happ, no one for Wisconsin has that type of experience. That hurt the Badgers, but tonight is a tremendous teaching moment for the young team.

5. Davison kept Wisconsin alive in the first half against Xavier. He played 13 minutes and the Badgers outscored Xavier by 13 points. Entering the game his career-high was eight points. He had 11 in the first half alone.

6. The biggest stretch for Wisconsin in the first half came in the final 4:29 of the half when Happ subbed out after picking up his second foul. Wisconsin was trailing 32-23. The closed out the half on an 11-2 run to tie the game at 34 heading into the break. Davison had six points and a pair of steals in that stretch.

7. Davison did more than just create for Wisconsin offensively. He’s shown early on that he is the type of player that doesn’t mind doing the dirty work that most athletes his age don’t like to do. Against Xavier he was extremely disruptive on the defensive end of the court. In the first half alone he had four steals and a charge drawn while only committing one foul. He makes several plays at that end that typically aren’t made in college basketball, let alone by a freshman.

8. “If you have been around Brad Davison you understand these are the type of games he flourishes in. He likes being physical, he likes getting on the floor. He made a lot of good things happen,” head coach Greg Gard said following the game. “Maybe I should’ve played Brad even more.”

9. However long Davison is at Wisconsin, he is going to be lamented by fans of opposing teams, but he will be absolutely adored by Badger fans. The best comparison to make for him might be former Ohio State guard Aaron Craft. Craft played for the Buckeyes from 2010-2014 and was an incredibly pesky defender and general annoyance to the opposition. Davison is exactly that, but with a better offensive game.

10. Zach Heilprin said all of the above in a simple five-word tweet during the game.

11. The second half was not as productive for Davison, however. He only was able to score a single point.

12. He finished with 28 minutes played on the night, taking many of Pritzl’s minutes. Pritzl wasn’t the only starter to play under 20 minutes, as Andy Van Vliet had a tough night for the Badgers. He finished with one point and one rebound in 11 minutes. Pritzl did have 13 points, but struggled defensively against Xavier’s Macura.

13. Happ had another strong game on the offensive end as he finished with a team-high 21 points to go along with eight assists and four rebounds.

14. This was the first game this season where Happ wasn’t consistently double-teamed. It did happen at times, but it was not done throughout the game by XU’s defense. When the double-teams did come he did an excellent job passing out of them, as he has consistenly this season.

15. In the second half, he did break the 1,000 point mark on a driving layup. Quite an accomplishment for Wisconsin’s leader.

16. Wisconsin travels to Kansas City for the 2017 Hall of Fame Classic on Monday night. They take on No. 25 Baylor. Tip-off is at 8pm.

Badgers top South Carolina State 85-50; Last shots

MADISON — The University of Wisconsin Men’s Basketball team opened up the 2017-18 regular season with a 85-50 win over visiting South Carolina State University Friday night at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin was led by Ethan Happ with 20 points and 11 rebounds on the evening. South Carolina State’s Donte Wright finished with a team-high 13 points for the Bulldogs.

This was the first meaningful game for a group of relatively new Badgers. There were definitely nerves early, but the experience of Happ showed throughout the night leading Wisconsin to the win.

Here are 13 last shots for guard D’Mitrik Trice’s 13 points:

1. Happ showed more against South Carolina State than he did in the entire preseason slate. At times in the exhibition matchups it looked as if he was taking a step back, hoping to help his teammates grow. Friday night he was able to enforce his will at the offensive end early and often, scoring 12 points in the first half. He finished with a double-double, totaling 20 points and 11 rebounds.

2. The one thing Happ did struggle with on the night was shooting from the charity stripe. He shot four-of-nine from the foul line. As a team, Wisconsin finished 11-18 on free throws, but a respectable seven-of-nine removing Happ from the equation. That’s a number the Badgers can live with against South Carolina State, but it’s something that could come back and haunt them against a more talented team.

3. While Happ led the team with 20 points, he was one of four Badgers that reached double-figures. Andy Van Vliet had a terrific game in his first game as a starter, finishing with 18 points. Guards Brevin Pritzl and Trice finished with 17 and 13 points, respectively. Both of them were three-of-six from three-point land.

4. Van Vliet was a key factor in stretching South Carolina State’s defense. The Bulldogs primarily played a zone defense, which is something Wisconsin had not seen in the previous two exhibitions against Northern Iowa and UW-Stout. Van Vliet was able to expose openings in it as a three-point shooter, going four-of-five from beyond the arc. He also hit back-to-back threes as part of a 10-0 run that stretched Wisconsin’s lead to 22 with 7:23 remaining, essentially putting the game out of reach.

5. “It feels good to have a game like that,” Van Vliet told the media after the game. “Obviously, there is still stuff to work about, coach has been on me too for defensive reasons and I know I have to work on that and be more aggressive. I feel good about tonight and finally being on the floor.”

6. Pritzl, like Happ and Van Vliet, reached double-figures in scoring in the first half. His smooth shooting stroke is something that should be much more prevalent this season than it was last year for Wisconsin. He knocked down six of the 10 shots he took and was two-of-two from the free throw stripe.

7. “Ethan has got on me about taking shots,” Pritzl said after the game. “I’m a good shooter so I’ve kind of listened to him a little more. I’ve got to be a little more aggressive.”

8. If Pritzl can continue to shoot as well from behind the arc as he did Friday, the Badgers will want him to be even more aggressive with his shot selection.

9. Freshmen Kobe King and Brad Davison both made their collegiate debuts against South Carolina State and they looked like freshmen. That’s not a slight to either of them, as they both played solid games, however it was evident there was nervousness for both during the game. King finished with six points on three-of-six shooting to go along with three rebounds and an assist. Davison had five points on one-of-three from the floor. He added in two assists and a pair of steals as well.

10. There will be nights throughout the season where one of, if not both, the freshmen will explode and reach double-figures in scoring for Wisconsin. There will also be nights like Friday for them. Developing talent takes time, but it’s something that will be worth it in the end with both the young guards.

11. Davison is going to be a player that Wisconsin fans love as long as he is on campus. He’s also going to be a pain in the neck for fans of the other 13 Big Ten schools. He’s a very scrappy defender that will pester opponents. Davison isn’t afraid to take a charge or dive for a loose ball. There will be a time in his career at Wisconsin when the reason the Badgers win a game is thanks to his hustle.

12. “I will say this, thank god we don’t have to beat Wisconsin to win our conference,” South Carolina State head coach Murray Garvin said after the game. The Bulldogs were overmatched Friday night by the Badgers, but they certainly did not lie down for them. Garvin was proud of the way his team fought Friday night and he had every reason to feel that way. In the end, Wisconsin’s talent won out.

13. Wisconsin is in action next Sunday afternoon from the Kohl Center against Yale. Tip-off is at 4pm.

Wisconsin tops Northern Iowa 69-38 in exhibition

MADISON | The Wisconsin Badgers opened the home portion of their preseason schedule on Wednesday night with a 69-38 victory over the University of Northern Iowa in an exhibition matchup. Wisconsin got a strong effort out freshman Kobe King, who was the game’s high scorer with 15 points.

The Badgers only return one starter from the 2016-17 season in forward Ethan Happ. Happ got off to a slow start in the first half, but finished with nine points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes on the night. As a team, Wisconsin was not very sharp early, failing to score for nearly the first three minutes of the game. They trailed 10-2 at the 13:20 mark of the first half.

After that it was all Badgers as they were able to pull away against the inferior Panthers, cruising to the 69-38 win.

Here are 15 last shots for King’s 15 points on the evening.

1. Wisconsin trotted out a starting lineup of D’Mitrik Price, Brevin Pritzl, Khalil Iverson, Andy Van Vliet, and Happ. Of those five, only Happ was a regular starter last year for the Badgers.

2. “I think it’s meshing together nicely, but it’s definitely taking time and it’s going to take some more time,” Happ said of the new starting lineup. “Especially having certain guys in at certain moments of the game. We’ve been really fortunate with the trip overseas and then to have the scrimmage against Missouri and now this. The more reps we get as a team, that’s going to help us a lot.”

3. Early on, it looked as if the Badgers hadn’t played together much yet, which is mostly true. While the team did play exhibition games in Australia and New Zealand over the summer along with a closed exhibition against Missouri last week, they’re still feeling each other out.

4. Wisconsin went nearly the first three minutes without a bucket. Happ started the scoring for them at the 17:01 mark to cut the early Northern Iowa lead to two points. UNI then scored the next six to make it 10-2 at the 13:20 mark of the first half. McCloud had all 10 of those points for the Panthers. He didn’t score again the rest of the night.

5. After the slow start, Wisconsin got things rolling once King and fellow freshman Brad Davison checked in. The two guards book-ended a 17-0 run for the Badgers. The run started with five straight points from King and ended with a Davison three-pointer. It was evident that they provided a much-needed spark off the bench for Wisconsin.

6. “We settled down, we were nervous,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said about his team’s slow start. “I could tell by looking at Van Vliet, Iverson, and Pritzl on the bench before the starting lineups, you could tell they had the look like ‘I’m starting my first game in the Kohl Center.’ They all admitted that they were a little nervous, and rightfully so. This is a big step for them to do that.”

7. With the starting lineup being 80% new compared to last season, there’s a chance that it becomes a fluid situation. If King continues to give Wisconsin the same effort and production that he gave on Wednesday night, it will be awfully tough to have him continue to come off the bench on a regular basis. He might be better off in the starting lineup at points this season.

8. Wisconsin went 10-of-24 from behind the arc against UNI. They used eight different players to knock down those 10 three-pointers, including Happ. Happ had not attempted a three-pointer last season, but attempted two Wednesday night, knocking one down from straight away early in the second half.

9. “He’s worked at it, but I know he understands that his game isn’t attached to his ability to shoot threes,” Gard said about Happ’s game from deep. “I don’t know if I have anything up my sleeve for him to run for him for a three yet. Maybe he’ll try and talk me into it.“

10. Iverson and Aleem Ford were the two Badgers to hit multiple threes against UNI. They both shot two-of-four from behind the arc.

11. Defensively, Wisconsin really locked down in the second half. The half began with Wisconsin leading 35-18. Northern Iowa scored the first seven points of the half in the first two minutes. They didn’t hit another field goal until there was 3:43 left to play. Over that stretch they missed 17 consecutive shots, only scoring three points on free throws. Wisconsin stretched their lead from 10 points to 32 points in that time.

12. The Badgers did play good defense over that stretch, but Northern Iowa did miss shots that a typical team found on Wisconsin’s schedule would normally make. If you’re a Panthers fan, it was an especially tough half of basketball to watch.

13. One area where the Badgers thrived was creating points off turnovers. They forced 16 turnovers on the night, turning them into 25 points. Conversely, the Badgers turned the ball over 11 times, but UNI was only able to score six points off those miscues.

14. Wisconsin will be in action next on Sunday when they host UW-Stout in their third and final exhibition of the preseason.

15. The regular season beings for Wisconsin on November 10, when they host South Carolina State University at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin not ranked to start the season, Ethan Happ named preseason All-Big Ten

The Wisconsin basketball team will start the season unranked for the first time in eight years.

The USA Today Coaches Poll was released Thursday and the Badgers were not among the top 25, though they did receive votes that would have them at No. 32.

Wisconsin must replace four starters off of last year’s Sweet 16 team, including Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, a pair of players that were significant contributors to back-to-back Final Four teams in 2014 and 2015.

The lone returning starter is center Ethan Happ, who was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and third-team AP All-American as a sophomore. The Big Ten announced Thursday that Happ was one of three consensus choices for the preseason All-Big Ten team.

In a media poll, Wisconsin was picked to finish seventh in the Big Ten this year. If that plays out, it will be the first time since 2001 that the Badgers haven’t finished in the top-4 of the conference.

The Badgers will hold their annual Red/White scrimmage on Sunday at the Kohl Center. They open the year on Nov. 10 against South Carolina State.

Badgers International trip ends with a win

The Wisconsin Badgers basketball team  ended their five game trip Down Under yesterday with a 83-71 win against the Sydney Kings.

The Badgers were led by in-coming freshman Brad Davidson, who scored 23 points went 2-4 from behind the arc, and was a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line. Preseason All-American Ethan Happ added 15 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals.

The Badgers trailed 55-50 in the third quarter before Davidson would help start two separate Wisconsin runs. He scored eight straight points for the Badgers by connecting on two straight three pointers and a layup.

He also was able to get his teammates involved throughout the second half. The Badgers grabbed a 59-57 lead late in the third quarter and never looked back.

The Badgers shot the ball 8-20 from three, good enough for 40% shooting from behind the arc. The team also shot well from the free throw line going 15-18. Wisconsin had an edge on the glass, out-rebounding the Kings 36-24, including 10 more offensive rebounds.

The Badgers concluded their trip Down Under going 4-1 and finding a lot out about their team. The Badgers started all five games with a different lineup, and had a different leading scorer every game. Ethan Happ never led the Badgers in scoring, which speaks volumes about the depth of the team.

The three Badgers freshman also proved that they can play at a high level. Brad Davidson, Nate Reuvers, and Kobe King all played well during the five exhibition games. Not only does Wisconsin have talented in-coming freshman, but they also have an abundance of depth.


Wisconsin falls to Melbourne United on late 3-pointer

MELBOURNE, Australia — The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team faced its first test of adversity on the international trip, falling 90-89 to Melbourne United Saturday night on a late 3-point shot.

The Badgers were 3-0 on their foreign exhibition tour, seemingly on their way to a fourth win after grabbing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. But Melbourne’s Jerry Evans sank a 3-pointer from the corner with 2.4 seconds left to leave Wisconsin in shock.

“We were in situations throughout the game that we haven’t been in,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard told UWBadgers.com. “End of game and quarter situations, foul trouble we had to deal with. We did a lot of learning, which is exactly why you come on trips like this, to put yourself in some adverse situations and see how guys react on the fly.”

Wisconsin rallied from a 14-point second quarter deficit by scoring on 11 of its first 12 possessions to start the second half. That included scoring 32 points on 17 possessions in the third quarter.

It’s been a youth movement for the Badgers, who were led in the loss by 19 points from D’Mitrik Trice, 18 points from Kobe King, followed by Ethan Happ with 14.

“You have to learn from wins and losses,” Happ said after the loss. “The biggest thing is, we need to slow down when they’re making their run. We need to slow down on both ends where we need to hone in and get a stop or we need to hone in and get a bucket at the rim. We need to play inside-out down the stretch and make more plays.”

The Badgers failed to make it a two-possession game down the stretch. Their final two possessions included a shot clock violation and a partially blocked shot from Brevin Pritzl, for what would have been the winning basket.

The five-game tour concludes Tuesday against the Sydney Kings at 2:30 a.m. CT.

Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ earns AP All-American honors

MADISON — For just the sixth time in school history, the Wisconsin basketball team has produced an Associated Press All-American.

Sophomore forward Ethan Happ was named a third-team All-American by the AP after helping the Badgers to a fourth straight Sweet Sixteen.

“It is definitely an honor to receive such a prestigious award,” Happ said in a release by the school. “No individual award comes without the help of others though. I want to thank my teammates, coaches and all the support I’ve gotten that has helped me get to this point.”

Happ finish second on the team in scoring at 14.0 points per game, while leading Wisconsin in rebounds (9.0), assists (2.8), blocks (1.2) and steals (1.8) on his way to earning first-team All-Big Ten honors and a second straight year of being named to the conference’s all-defensive team.

The Illinois native joins Frank Kaminsky (2015), Jordan Taylor (2011), Alando Tucker (2007), Devin Harris (2004) and Don Rehfeldt (1950) as Wisconsin players that have earned some form of recognition from the Associated Press since they first started naming All-American teams in 1948.

Happ, Koenig, Hayes and Showalter earn All-Big Ten recognition

MADISON — Wisconsin’s season didn’t end with a Big Ten regular season title, but several players still earned recognition for their work during the conference season when the All-Big Ten teams were announced Monday.

Forward Ethan Happ was a first-team pick by the coaches and media, becoming just the second Wisconsin sophomore to earn the honor, joining Michael Finley. Happ led the Badgers in rebounds, assists, blocks and steals per game, while finishing second in points. His selection also makes it four straight years where the Badgers have at least one All-Big Ten first-team player.

Senior Bronson Koenig was named to the second-team by the coaches after leading Wisconsin at 14.2 points per game during the season, including 17 in his final home game on Sunday against Minnesota. Koenig was a third-team pick by the media.

In his final season, Nigel Hayes earned third-team honors from both the coaches and the media after scoring 13.5 points and grabbing 6.2 rebounds per game.

Happ and senior Zak Showalter were named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive Team, the second time for Happ and the first for Showalter. Wisconsin led the Big Ten in scoring defense at 61.4 points per game.

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, with Michigan State’s Malcom Bridges earning Freshman of the Year honors and Minnesota’s Richard Pitino picking up the Coach of the Year award.

The full list of award winners can be found here.