MADISON — Wisconsin earned its sixth-straight win Sunday by holding off Minnesota 71-69 at a raucous Kohl Center.
Player of the Game: Brad Davison
The Minnesota native killed his home state school, scoring a team-high 20 points, including 13 in the first half. He added a team-high seven rebounds and dished out five assists.
Perhaps his biggest play came with about minute left and Wisconsin trailing by two. There was a scramble for a loose ball and Davison was able to keep it alive long enough for D’Mitrik Trice to grab it. He eventually found Brevin Pritzl for a corner 3-pointer that gave the Badgers a 67-66 lead.
The senior continues to make the most of his final games. In addition to the 3-pointer mentioned above, he also made another 3-pointer coming out of a timeout to give the Badgers a late lead and drilled a pair of clutch free throws to give them a 3-point lead in the final seconds. Oh, he also was the one that suggested this play that led to Aleem Ford’s dunk.
“Brevin’s doing what seniors should do and I’m happy for him,” coach Greg Gard said.
The not so good: Letting Minnesota back in
Like they have in many games this season, the Badgers had to sweat out the last few minutes because they didn’t put their heal on the other team’s neck. Wisconsin led by 12 with 12:43 left. All Minnesota did was going on a 12-0 run in the next 3:22 to tie things up. Now, the team did, as they have quite a bit in this six-game winning streak, find a way to close it out, but it didn’t need to be that way.
Stat of the Game: 8
That’s how many 3-pointers Wisconsin hit on the day, snapping its streak of double-digit makes at five games. Still, former coach Bo Ryan always used to say that if the points you score off of the 3-pointers you take is equal to or better than the number you take, then it’s a good night. The Badgers had 24 points on 24 attempts.
Greg Gard on how his team got to the spot they are, just a game out of first place with two games to play:
“Nowhere else do you look to then those guys in that locker room and what they’ve done and how they’ve unified and bonded together and played for each other and played for what’s on the front of their jersey and done it in such an unselfish manner. They don’t care.
“There sitting still with a shot, with a chance to get a piece of this. They’ve handled things in a very mature, appropriate way and taken a walk through this season day-by-day and have handled the challenges that have come at them, both internally and externally, in the right manner. It’s paid off. It’s been a great life lesson experience for them. That if you stay true to who you are, stick together and help the guy to your right and your left that a lot of good things can happen.”
In Case You Missed It
— With the win, the Badgers moved into a three-way tie for second place in the Big Ten. Here’s a look at the standings.
— Nate Reuvers had another tough night offensively, but made perhaps the play of the game defensively, stonewalling Daniel Oturu and forcing a miss late in the game. Oturu finished with 26 points, but Reuvers came up went needed.
— Future Badgers Johnny and Jordan Davis were in the stands for the game.
— The game served as junior day for Wisconsin football as it hosted a large number of potential recruits. The Badgers are apparently unbeaten on junior days since Paul Chryst returned in 2015.