Wisconsin 79, Rutgers 71: Last word

MADISON — Four players scored in double figures as Wisconsin beat Rutgers 79-71 Sunday to earn a fourth-straight win.

Player of the Game: Micah Potter

Coming off a scoreless performance against Purdue, the junior big man made his presence felt against the Scarlet Knights. He had a team-high 18 points, including hitting 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. Two of those were back-to-back in the second half when Rutgers had cut the Badgers lead to 10. Potter added nine rebounds and didn’t turn it over.

Potter has a good shot of doing something no other rotation player in school history has done — shoot at least 50-percent from the floor, 40-percent from 3 and 90-percent from the free throw line for an entire season. Though he may fall short of the necessary minimum number of attempts, right now he’s hitting 52.7-percent of his shots, 45.7-percent from 3 and 93.5-percent from the line.

The good: Brevin Pritzl

The senior is continuing to make the most of his final season, scoring 17 points on Sunday. It was the fourth time in the last six games he’s been in double digits. That’s key, because Wisconsin is now 10-0 when he hits double figures. But it wasn’t just the scoring. It was how he scored. Yeah, he hit a couple of 3s, like usual, but he was 5-for-7 inside the 3-point line. That meant he was being aggressive, which is exactly when he’s at his best.

The not so good: Holding the lead

Wisconsin led by as many as 16 points in the second half and had a 13-point advantage with 4:14 left. But the Badgers could not put Rutgers fully away, allowing the Scarlet Knights to get within five with 2:19 to go. Fortunately for them, they continue to be a strong free throw shooting team and were able to salt things away at the line.

Stat of the Game: 7

That’s how many offensive rebounds Rutgers had. The Scarlet Knights came into the contest averaging 12.1 per game, which ranked 35th in the country and third in the Big Ten. They had 11 in the first meeting between the two teams. This time, though, Wisconsin did a solid job of limiting their second chances.

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What they said:

Greg Gard on the growth of his team this year:

“This group has mentally toughed up and responded and matured. I’m proud of them. This group has come through more than any I’ve been around in 30 years of coaching in terms of the outside things they’ve had to overcome and thrown their way.”

In Case You Missed It

— The win moved Wisconsin into a four-way tie for second place in the Big Ten with four games to go. The Badgers are tied with Penn State, Michigan State and Iowa.

— Wisconsin guard Brad Davison had his streak of made free throws end at 21 with a miss late in the second half. Davison also topped the 1,000-point mark for his career, becoming the 43rd player in school history to reach that total.

— Wisconsin was supposed to wear its 2000 throwback uniforms just once. The Badgers wore them for a third-straight home game and moved to 3-0 with them on. https://twitter.com/BadgerMBB/status/1231594880713023491

— D’Mitrik Trice keeps raising the level of his game as a point guard. He finished with a career-high nine assists. He has 44 assists in his last seven games and just 12 turnovers.

— Wisconsin has now won at least 10 Big Ten games 17 times since 2001-2002. That’s the most of any team in the conference.

— Rutgers became the first team to shoot at least 50-percent from the field against the Badgers this year.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (17-10, 10-6) will travel to Ann Arbor on Thursday to take on Michigan (18-9, 9-7)