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.

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.

Badgers fall to Iowa 85-67

The Wisconsin Badgers fell to the Iowa Hawkeyes 85-67 on Tuesday night in Iowa City. The Badgers started out slowly, similar to their loss against Purdue the week prior.

Iowa led 9-0 nearly four minutes into the game. When they lost to Purdue last week they trailed 12-0 to start the game.

Wisconsin was able to fight back and cut Iowa’s lead to four points with just over two minutes left in the first half, but then Iowa finished the half on a 6-1 run to go into the locker room with a 37-28 lead.

In the second half it was more of the same, the Hawkeyes opened up a lead as large as 22 points down the stretch. Iowa got a strong effort from freshman Luka Garza, he had 17 points and 16 rebounds in the win for Iowa. Tyler Cook also had 17 points for Iowa as five Hawkeyes reached double-figures in total.

Forward Ethan Happ had the best day for Wisconsin, he finished the night with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Wisconsin had three players score in double-figures, as Khalil Iverson had 17 points and Charles Thomas scored 10 points in 17 minutes off of the bench.

The Badgers return to action on Friday night in East Lansing, Mi., where they’ll take on the No. 6 Michigan State Spartans. Tip-off is at 7pm.

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.

Wisconsin tops Penn State 64-63

The Wisconsin Badgers earned their first win of the Big Ten season against Penn State on Monday night 64-63.

Forward Khalil Iverson led the way for Wisconsin with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Freshman Nate Reuvers added in 11 points off the bench, and Ethan Happ had nine points and 10 rebounds on the night.

Penn State had an opportunity to win the game on the final possession but Tony Carr’s 3-pointer glanced off the side of the rim with under five seconds remaining. A jump ball was then forced by Wisconsin guard Aleem Ford with less than a second remains. The possession arrow pointed towards the Badgers and they were able to escape with a win.

Wisconsin led by 15 points with just under 10 minutes remaining before the Nittany Lions went on a 21-9 run that narrowed Wisconsin’s lead to 60-57. The Badgers were able to close things out thanks in part to D’Mitrik Trice knocking down all four free throws he attempted down the stretch.

Wisconsin moves to 4-5 on the season. They’re in action next on Wednesday on the road against Temple.

Wisconsin 89, Yale 61: Last shots

MADISON – The University of Wisconsin had a weekend full of taming Bulldogs. They opened their season on Friday against South Carolina State, defeating them 85-50. On Sunday, the Bulldogs of Yale came to the Kohl Center and were turned away by score of 89-61.

Ethan Happ registered another double-double for Wisconsin, but also had a bit of an injury scare and continued woes at the free-throw line for the Badgers. Khalil Iverson stepped up to lead Wisconsin in scoring with 17 points after not attempting a shot on Friday night.

Yale got a strong performance from forward Blake Reynolds. He finished the night with 14 points on a very efficient six-of-eight shooting. Yale falls to 0-2 on the season.

Here are 14 last shots for D’Mitrik Trice’s 14 points scored on the evening.

1. Wisconsin has shown in both games this season that they’re able to score with numerous players. After Happ was the leader for Wisconsin against South Carolina State, Iverson scored a career-high 17 points as Wisconsin’s high scorer against Yale.

2. “I thought he [Iverson] was really energized from the start,” head coach Greg Gard said about the effort Iverson gave Sunday evening. “He really accepted the challenge Khalil [Iverson] didn’t shoot on Friday and had some turnovers. It’s the anniversary of his father’s passing this past week and I think that weighed on him and I could tell. I thought today he was his old self and rightfully so. I know that’s a difficult time having gone through it myself and I’m 20-plus years older than him.”

3. For the second game in a row, Wisconsin managed to be extremely balanced with their offensive output. In both games this season they’ve had four players reach double-figures. Against South Carolina State Andy Van Vliet, Brevin Pritzl, Trice, and Happ all scored 13 or more points. When Yale came to town Van Vliet, Trice, and Happ all scored at least 12, but Iverson was the fourth as opposed to Pritzl, who finished with six points and six rebounds.

4. Happ had another strong night for the Badgers. Early on, Yale was very determined to double-team him any time he touched the ball in the post. He did an excellent job of passing out of those situations to open teammates on the perimeter. He finished the night with 12 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes, for his second double-double in as many games.

5. Although his state line looks good Happ definitely has a few areas where he needs to continue to work offensively. He had a few blown opportunities near the rim that need to be finished against better competition. Happ also struggled from the free throw line, finishing four-of-eight from the charity stripe. In the first game against South Carolina State, Happ went four-of-nine from the line. Leaving points at the free throw line will come back to haunt the Badgers eventually.

6. Outside of Happ, Wisconsin had a productive night on free throws, shooting 16-of-18, with the lone misses coming from Van Vliet.

7. Happ left the floor at the halftime buzzer walking gingerly to the locker room. He did start the second half, however he had a sleeve on his knee, which was not present previously.

8. “It was the defensive possession before [the half] and I was sliding with [Miye] Oni,” Happ said about the tweak. “I just felt something in my knee. I got back up and once the adrenaline came down a little bit I felt something but I’m fine now and that’s all that matters.”

9. Wisconsin wasn’t afraid to shoot from distance on Sunday evening. They took 22 shots from behind the arc, hitting seven of them. That final number was boosted by a four-for-four stretch that started with roughly eight minutes remaining in the game. Prior to that they were a dismal 3-for-16 from deep.

10. “At times it was too quick,” Gard said about the three-point selection against Yale. “I thought specifically on a couple offensive rebounds, and I’ll have to go through the tape to see exactly how open we were, but I thought there were a couple times when we had offensive rebounds and we could have made it hurt a little bit more and we took quick shots that maybe weren’t that open or we weren’t set or depending who took it.”

11. Van Vliet had the most attempts from three-point range, shooting two-of-five from behind the arc. In all, 11 of the 13 players that saw the court attempted at least one three-pointer. The two who did not were Matt Ferris and Aaron Moesch. They combined for one total shot in seven minutes after the game was already in hand.

12. There will be nights when Wisconsin is able to shoot lights out from distance, and that very well could win them a game or two. The flip side of that is things could very easily go the other way and getting three-point happy could cost them a game when they go cold.

13. Yes, that means even Happ took a three-pointer. It was the first of his career and was taken at the 14:18 mark of the first half.

14. Wisconsin is in action next on Thursday night when Xavier University is at the Kohl Center. The Musketeers opened the season ranked 16th. Tip-off is at 7:30pm.

Wisconsin may face Minnesota without Vitto Brown

MADISON, Wis. — Because of a lower leg injury suffered in Tuesday’s win over Michigan, Wisconsin may face Minnesota without senior forward Vitto Brown.

Brown’s right leg was rolled up on during the second half of Tuesday’s win, going to the floor in obvious pain. The Badgers didn’t practice on Wednesday, but during Thursday’s session, Brown was notably absent from on-the-court workouts. UW officials say his absence was due to the injury.

Sophomore Khalil Iverson took over for Brown with the starting unit during practice and it would appear that’s who would fill in for him should Brown be unable to go Saturday afternoon. Iverson has played in all 18 games this season, and assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft says no determination has been made how many minutes he may play if replacing Brown.

Bronson Koenig scores 17 as Wisconsin takes out in-state rival Marquette 93-84

Nigel Hayes couldn’t care less about the Wisconsin-Marquette rivalry. The senior has repeatedly said throughout his time in Madison that it’s just another game on the schedule, and his tune didn’t change on Saturday in the wake of the Badgers 93-84 win against the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee.

“This rivalry doesn’t mean much to me. I’m from Ohio, so I don’t really care,” Hayes said. “I just look at it as another game that we have the ability to go out and win against a good team.”

But perhaps remembering what was said by Marquette’s Henry Ellenson a year ago — that the Golden Eagles proved who the best team in the state was with their 57-55 win in Madison — Hayes finished by saying what many Wisconsin fans were probably thinking.

“We had a little bump last year in the road,” said Hayes, who finished his career 3-1 against Marquette. “(But) big brother always rises back to the top where he’s supposed to be.”

And that’s exactly where the Badgers were following an intense and hard-fought game that saw them erase a 5-point halftime deficit, lead by as many as 18 and then close things out at the free throw line.

“You see how consistent we can be. When we are consistent, we’re pretty effective,” coach Greg Gard said. “But you also see the times where we’re not (and) how much more we have to grow and how much better we can get.”

Playing without sophomore Ethan Happ for much of the first half due to two quick fouls, the Badgers were able to keep things close despite four 3-pointers by Katin Reinhardt off the bench. But when Happ returned after the break, that’s when things started to swing in Wisconsin’s favor, and it showed on the scoreboard.

The Badgers outscored Marquette 35-12 in the first 13:16 of the second half to take a 70-52 lead, and the Golden Eagles never got closer than eight the rest of the game.

Guard Bronson Koenig had 17 points and six assists to lead a Wisconsin offense that put up its most points ever in the 123 meetings between the two schools, hitting on 58.2 percent of their shots for the game, including going 8 of 18 from beyond the arc.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Badgers, who won their fifth straight game. Hayes ended up with 17 points, Vitto Brown had 15, Zak Showalter added 11 and Happ also had a 11 in just the second half. Wisconsin also got a big lift off the bench from Khalil Iverson, who scored a career-high 16 points on 5 of 6 shooting, and was a terror on defense, blocking a pair of shots.

Marquette was led by guard Markus Howard, who had 22 points, while Reinhardt scored 16.

With the win, Gard improved to 24-10 as Wisconsin’s coach, including a 9-2 record this season.

The Badgers will face UW-Green Bay on Wednesday at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin overcomes slow start to rout Chicago State 69-51

MADISON | Following an ugly start that saw them down 8-0 for a second straight game, the Wisconsin basketball team found its footing, taking care of Chicago State 69-51 on Thursday night.

The No. 9 Badgers (2-1) turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the game, allowing the Cougars (1-1) to jump out to the same lead Creighton held on Tuesday night. But this time Wisconsin had the answer, going on a 23-3 run that saw Chicago State go without a bucket for more than 9 minutes, and the Badgers led the rest of the way.

The difference on the night was the points off the bench. Wisconsin outscored Chicago State 36-4, led by Khalil Iverson’s career-high 11 points. The sophomore also added five rebounds, two assists and two blocks, including swatting a 3-point attempt into the crowd.

Senior Vitto Brown led Wisconsin in scoring with 12 points, one of three Badgers in double digits.

Wisconsin didn’t shoot overwhelmingly better than they did on Tuesday against Creighton, but they were determined not to settle for shots from the outside. They took just 19 3-pointers — 20 fewer than in the loss to the Bluejays — hitting five of them, including a pair from Brown.

Freshman D’Mitrik Trice continued his strong start to the season, dishing out seven assists in 23 minutes of action.

The win came despite a rough shooting performance from senior Nigel Hayes. The forward missed his first five shots, and finished with just three points on 1 of 8 shooting, while also hitting just one of his four free throws.

Wisconsin now heads to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational, where they’ll take on Tennessee Monday afternoon.

Wisconsin Chicago State box