Badgers top UW-Stout 85-56 in exhibition finale

The University of Wisconsin won their third and final exhibition matchup Sunday evening against in-state foe UW-Stout 85-56. The Badgers swept through the preseason, defeating Missouri in a closed scrimmage, as well as Northern Iowa and UW-Stout at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin was led by freshmen guards Brad Davison and Kobe King on the night. They scored 13 and 17 points, respectively. The Badgers finished with four players in double-figures as Andy Van Vliet and Khalil Iverson both finished with 11 points.

Here are nine last shots for the nine three-pointers made by Wisconsin Sunday evening.

1. It was difficult to learn much about the Badgers on Sunday in their matchup against UW-Stout. When the talent gap is as large as it is between a division one and a division three program, some things will be difficult to figure out for those watching.

2. One of the things that has been evident for Wisconsin no matter who the opposition is that King and Davison will be key cogs for the Badgers this year despite their inexperience. Davison got the start in place of an injured D’Mitrik Trice who missed the exhibition with an ankle injury. Both the talented freshman were able to handle the point guard responsibilities at different points throughout the night.

3. “For me, playing point was something new, I haven’t really done too much,” King said. “This morning me, Brad [Davison], Khalil [Iverson], sat down with coach Gard, ran through some things. Overall it was pretty fun, but I’m excited to have [Trice] back.”

4. Understandably the two can’t wait for the games to count for real, as they start to on Friday night when the Badgers host South Carolina State.

5. “We’ve put in a lot of work since we’ve been here over the summer. Especially with the foreign tour we had extra practices. I think it’s something that we’re very well prepared for and I know we’re all looking forward to it,” King said.

6. Defensively Wisconsin wasn’t as impressive early on as there were against Northern Iowa in their previous exhibition. They seemed to be giving UW-Stout a few more open looks than the Panthers were able to find on Wednesday night.

7. The most surprising number from Sunday evening might have been zero, as in the number of official shot attempts for forward Ethan Happ. He finished the night with two points, both coming from the free throw stripe. It was clear that UW-Stout’s plan was to double Happ immediately once the ball was given to him in the post. He did add in four rebounds and three assists in his 22 minutes on the floor.

8. Happ looked comfortable passing out of the post when he was forced to, however it was extremely odd to see the team’s best player not attempt a shot. The production from Davison and King certainly helped to offset the lack of offense from Happ.

9. Obviously, things can change quickly, and not too much stock should be taken in an exhibition, but it must be comforting for the team to see that King has been able to consistently create offense for himself. He can provide an instant spark and find many ways to put points on the board. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him average double-figures in scoring during the season.

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.

Red/White scrimmage recap

MADISON | Sunday afternoon the world caught a glimpse of the 2017-2018 Wisconsin Men’s Basketball team in the annual Red/White scrimmage. The team looks much different than Badger fans are used to. Typically, Wisconsin is filled with experience, however that’s not the case this year with only Ethan Happ returning from last year’s starting five.

At the scrimmage, the most impressive player was freshman Kobe King. King, a La Crosse, Wi native, lead both squads in scoring with 16 points in 34 minutes. He was able to showcase his scoring ability multiple ways. King got to the rim, created space in the mid-range, and knocked down shots from behind the arc. For a freshman, he showed an offensive game matured beyond his years.

While King was the leading scorer, another freshman, Brad Davison, reached double figures in the scoring column as well. He had 10 points in a team-high 35 minutes. Davison also had five rebounds and two assists.

The way things look, it should surprise anyone if King and Davison open the year as important members of the rotation, if not starters. The tandem will certainly experience growing pains, as was evident in the four combined turnovers, but they’ll be a pair Wisconsin fans will find highly entertaining as well.

INSTANT OFFENSE: Sophomore Brevin Pritzl was hot from distance early, nailing his first three attempts from behind the arc. He finished the day with 11 points. Pritzl has an incredibly pure stroke that can ignite the Badgers’ offense without warning. Whether his role will come as part of the starting five or off the bench is yet to be determined.

DOWN LOW: Another impressive aspect of the scrimmage on Sunday afternoon was how well a few of the Badgers’ big men played. While Happ didn’t have the best of days, going scoreless in 25 minutes, forwards Charles Thomas and Andy Van Vliet both had strong performances. Thomas has 14 points on six-of-nine from the floor and Van Vliet has nine points to go along with nine rebounds on the night.

UP NEXT: Wisconsin hosts UW-Stout in an exhibition on November 5 at the Kohl Center. Tip-off is at 4PM

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.

https://twitter.com/BadgerMBB/status/899958811196370944

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 moves to 2-0 on foreign trip

The Wisconsin basketball team improved to 2-0 on its foreign trip early Thursday morning with an 87-53 whipping of the Sky City Breakers.

For a second straight game, the revamped Badgers were hot from the outside, hitting 15 of 27 from beyond the arc. They were led by junior Andy Van Vliet, who finished with a team-high 14 points, while sophomore D’Mitrik Trice added 12 and freshmen Kobe King and Nathan Reuvers each put in nine.

Coach Greg Gard overhauled nearly his entire starting lineup for the second game of the five-game tour, going with freshman Brad Davison and sophomore Brevin Pritzl at guard, while redshirt freshman Aleem Ford joined Van Vliet and Charlie Thomas in the front court.

Wisconsin will now head to Australia for the final three games of the trip.