The Wisconsin men’s basketball team (2-1 Big Ten, 9-7 overall) re-arrived at its conference schedule as the Badgers downed Indiana (1-2, 8-7), 71-61, for their fifth straight win.
With redshirt sophomore guard Brevin Pritzl joining the ranks of the medically sidelined for UW, the Badgers desperately needed a win.
Redshirt junior forward Ethan Happ laid down his best performance of the season, torching the Hoosiers inside to the tune of 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting despite making just six of his 11 free throw attempts.
Happ also grabbed 10 rebounds, handed out four assists, blocked two shots and recorded four steals — all team-highs.
Freshman guard Brad Davison couldn’t find his shot early on, but ultimately came around, scoring 14 points on 12 shots.
The Badgers surrendered their lead when Collin Hartman buried a three-pointer with 13:39 to play, but then something clicked for the UW offense. They scored the next seven points during a 16-4 run that put them in the lead for good, 60-49.
UW played the free throw game down the stretch, hitting seven foul shots in the last 2:22 to put the game on ice and go above .500 in conference play for the first time this season.
In Pritzl’s absence, redshirt freshman forward Aleem Ford provided a nice boost, nailing 3-of-6 three pointers for nine points. Ford has sneakily become one of the Badgers’ most dangerous weapons from the perimeter, as he is now up to 48 percent from beyond the arc and has consistently hit timely threes in close games.
Aaron Moesch played 25 minutes in a primarily facilitative role, taking no shots despite finding himself on the court for more than half the game. Head coach Greg Gard and company love the senior forward’s understanding of the swing offense, and like to use him as tool to indoctrinate their younger players into the offensive playbook.
The Badgers look next to a matchup with Big Ten bottom feeders Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J., Friday.