Wisconsin holds off No. 12 Houston to pull upset in Vegas

Wisconsin built a 20-point halftime lead Tuesday and then held on to beat No. 12 Houston 65-63 in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas.

The Badgers jumped out to their big lead behind some hot shooting, especially from beyond the arc. Wisconsin was 7-for-15 on 3-pointers in the first half, including 4-for-5 from sophomore Jonathan Davis. He finished the half with 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting and he added two rebounds, two blocks and a couple of steals.

But the second half was almost all Houston. The Cougars cut the lead in half before the first TV timeout and had it down to three with 4:44 left. To that point, Davis had just two points in the second half. But he would keep the Badgers up, scoring eight of the final 10 points, including a great steal and dunk. Still, the game wasn’t over until the Cougars collected a miss by Davis in the final seconds and rushed it up court down two points but were unable to get a shot off.

Davis finished with a career-high 30 points a day after setting a career-high by scoring 21. He added four steals and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

Wisconsin also got nine straight points from junior Tyler Wahl to help the Badgers maintain their lead midway through the second half. Wahl also had a team-high seven rebounds.

Senior Brad Davison gave the Badgers nine points and sophomore Steven Crowl had eight, while sophomore Ben Carlson had four points off the bench.

Houston, which made the Final Four a year ago, got 18 points from guard Kyler Edwards. The loss was the first for the Cougars this season.

Wisconsin advances to the final of the tournament to face Oregon or St. Mary’s on Wednesday.