CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — After three straight close losses to ranked opponents, Wisconsin (3-4) badly needed a signature win. The Badgers will have to keep waiting after falling 49-37 at the hands of No. 18 Virginia (7-0) Monday night.
After scoring just 20 points in the first half, UW looked lost. Redshirt junior forward Ethan Happ attempted just three field goals in the period, while the team made just 33.3 percent of its shots.
Happ came out aggressively to open the second period, quickly hitting three layups to cut the Cavalier lead to four. But that was where the fun stopped for Happ and the Badgers.
UW would fail to record a single point for the next 7:47 until freshman guard Brad Davison mercifully hit a three-pointer with 9:10 to play.
By that point, the deficit had ballooned to 13, a gigantic margin against a team like UVA.
Davison, who had been playing the best basketball of anyone on the Badger roster, finally looked like a freshman for the first time all year. He missed his first eight shots from the floor, including four threes, and finished with just five points in 33 minutes on 2-of-10 shooting.
Davison was helped off the court late in the game after a hard foul clutching his left shoulder, which he had injured earlier in the year. He exited the game to get looked at, but returned to the court just over a minute later.
Happ was his usual efficient self, hitting on 55.5 percent of his shots, but took only nine field goals and was consistently outrebounded on the offensive end of the floor by Mamadi Diakite and Jack Salt.
On the defensive end, Davison struggled to contain Cavalier guard Kyle Guy, who hit shot after shot as the Badgers kept misfiring to stretch the lead ever larger. He finished with 17 points on 8-of-17 shooting to pace UVA.
Wisconsin made just 3-of-20 shots from deep on the night, its worst performance of the season from downtown, and shot a paltry 31.3 percent from the floor.
Freshman forward Nate Reuvers played well in almost every facet of the game, but still couldn’t buy a basket for the second-straight game, finishing 0-of-4 from the field.
The Badgers will have to regroup having lost four of their last five, all to ranked foes, ahead of a Saturday afternoon contest with Ohio State to open early Big Ten. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.