(23) Wisconsin 70, Georgia Tech 66: Last word

No. 23 Wisconsin held off a pesky Georgia Tech squad to grab a 70-66 win Wednesday night in Atlanta as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Player of the Game: Brad Davison

Wisconsin’s super senior put the team on his back in the second half scoring nine straight points to give the Badgers a 10-point lead with 11:40 left in the game. He ended up scoring 14 of his 27 after the break and finished 5-for-9 in the game from beyond the arc.

“That’s what he can do,” coach Greg Gard said. “Obviously, we needed it. It gave us a huge boost there. I’m glad he’s on our team, I’ll tell you that.”

Davison added three assists and a couple of rebounds to help Wisconsin to its fourth straight win.

The good: A road win

Playing in their first true road game of the year – and really the first since March of 2020 – the Badgers did not get rattled when Georgia Tech made several runs to keep the game close. After Wisconsin took a 53-43 lead, the Yellow Jackets got to within one possession of lead five times and even tied it at one point. But the Badgers, like they did several times last week in the Maui Invitational, found the answer time and time again. It is a young team, but it is also one that has shown the ability not to wilt under pressure.

The not so good: Free throws

Wisconsin got some clutch free throws down the stretch from Davison and Chuckie Hepburn to put the game away, but those came after Tyler Wahl missed a pair with 2:24 left and Jonathan Davis made 1 of 2 with 1:47 remaining.

The percentage overall does not look too bad at 68%, but the timing of the misses was less than ideal.

Stat of the Game: 0%

That’s what Georgia Tech shot from beyond the arc in the second half after starting the game 6-for-10. Three of the misses after the break were from Michael Devoe. The Yellow Jackets’ star hit five 3-pointers in the first half and ended up with a game-high 33 points.

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In Case You Missed It

— After missing the last five games with a lower body injury, guard Jahcobi Neath saw limited action. The transfer from Wake Forest scored two points in his six minutes of play.

— Former Wisconsin forward Julian Swartz is an assistant for Georgia Tech. Swartz, one of the better high school players in state history, was a part of the Badgers run to the 2000 Final Four before giving up basketball for mental health reasons.

— Jonathan Davis scored 12 points in the first half but was limited to just three in the second. However, the sophomore contributed in other ways, dishing out a career-high five assists, grabbing six rebounds and just being a pest on the defensive end.

— Wisconsin got a nice lift off the bench from center Chris Vogt. Despite playing just 12 minutes, he tied for the team lead with six rebounds. When Vogt was on the floor, the Badgers were 15 points better than the Yellow Jackets.

— Not only did Wisconsin win, but the Badgers’ victory also proved to be the clincher for the Big Ten in its annual series with the ACC. The Big Ten was up 6-2 coming into the night but went just 1-4 in the first five games Wednesday. With Wisconsin’s win, the conference won 8-6 and claimed the challenge for a third straight year.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (6-1) will return home to face instate rival Marquette on Saturday at the Kohl Center.