Four players scored in double figures for No. 10 Wisconsin as it pulled away from Northwestern in the second half Wednesday night for a 68-52 win at the Kohl Center.
Player of the Game: Tyler Wahl
Making his second straight start, Wahl scored a career-high 14 points, grabbed six rebounds and added a pair of assists. He had what coach Greg Gard called the play of the night early in the second half. Jonathan Davis saved a missed shot from going out of bounds and found Wahl a few feet behind the 3-point line. Instead of handing the ball off to D’Mitrik Trice, who was calling for it right next to him, Wahl took a couple dribbles and drilled the 3-pointer. It kick started a 14-3 run that gave Wisconsin a 16-point lead with 8:35 left in the game.
After going just 2-for-9 from 3 in the first 11 games, Wahl is 5-for-6 from distance in the last four games.
The good: Jonathan Davis
The true freshman was a huge lift off the bench at both ends of the floor in the first half. He had eight points, three rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal. During one stretch he scored or assisted on 14 of Wisconsin’s 16 points, including scoring back-to-back-to-back buckets. Davis continues to be among the Badgers key pieces with a plus-minus of +143 through 15 games, the second-best of any play on the roster.
The not so good: First half defense
Northwestern scored 34 points in the first 20 minutes and half of them came in the paint. The Wildcats went 6-for-7 on layups or dunks and that helped them shoot 51.7% from the field. Gard said his team struggled to stop the ball and defend a number of ball screen situations.
But in the second half they managed to slow Northwestern’s dribble penetration and were more aggressive in dealing with the ball screens. It resulted in the Wildcats scoring only 18 points, shooting just 27.3% and having just four points in the paint after the break. The 52 points for the game was a season-low.
Stat of the Game: 10
That’s how many 3-pointers Wisconsin hit on the night. It’s the most the Badgers have made in a Big Ten game this year.
— For a second straight game the Badgers went with Tyler Wahl in the starting lineup over Nate Reuvers.
— Wisconsin wore its alternate uniforms for a fourth time this season and moved to 5-0 in them.
— Gard told reporters after the game that freshman guard Lorne Bowman, who has been away from the team and school since early October, has re-enrolled and will take classes virtually this semester. He did not have a timeline on when Bowman could possibly rejoin the team.
Wisconsin (12-3, 6-2) will welcome No. 15 Ohio State (11-4, 5-4) on Saturday at the Kohl Center.