If there was any hangover from the Wisconsin Badgers’ (6-10 Big Ten, 13-16 overall) massive upset of Purdue Thursday night, it missed Brad Davison. The freshman guard scored 14 of UW’s first 18 points Monday night as he, alongside redshirt sophomore guard Brevin Pritzl, powered the Badgers past Minnesota (3-13, 14-15) 73-63.
With his teammates struggling to get going early in the first half, Davison hit 3-pointer after 3-pointer and kept UW above water. He hit four of his first five field goal attempts, all from beyond the arc, as he and junior forward Khalil Iverson were the only Badgers to score in the first 11:54.
With UW trailing by four midway through the period, the rest of the team began to wake up, as Pritzl, redshirt freshman forward Aleem Ford and freshman forward Nate Reuvers spurred a 12-2 run that gave the Badgers a six-point lead.
Reuvers, an inconsistent force on the offensive end, scored six points in a span of five minutes, but a three from Nate Mason followed by a fastbreak layup from Isaiah Washington helped the Golden Gophers regain a slim lead with just seconds left in the half.
Davison took the ball on a sideline out of bounds pass and pulled up for a half-closing 3-pointer, but missed wide left. Pritzl tracked down the loose ball in the deep left corner and whipped his torso around for a wild three that found nothing but the bottom of the net as the Badgers went to the half with the slimmest of leads, 35-34.
Minnesota, though, came out of the break strong. Dupree McBrayer, who had been questionable coming into the night, scored on back-to-back possessions to give the Golden Gophers their largest lead of the night to that point, but Davison quickly drew a charge and nailed a three to pull the Badgers back within three.
Soon after, Mason and Michael Hurt hit a pair of jumpers and UW missed a handful of bunnies at the rim. Before head coach Greg Gard could blink, the Minnesota lead was seven.
That lead would remain just out of reach of the Badgers as the minutes slowly ticked off the clock. With 1:32 to play, Iverson cut the lead to two on a smooth feed from redshirt junior Ethan Happ, and on the ensuing possession the ball trickled out of bounds as Jordan Murphy and Bakary Konate collided on a rebound.
With the game on the line, Davison couldn’t convert a foul-line jumper, but Murphy hit just 1-of-2 free throws to leave the door cracked ever so slightly open.
Iverson missed the back end of a 1-and-1 and Ford grabbed a rebound as Gard signalled for a timeout.
Happ went straight to the basket, attacking a double team from Murphy and Gaston Diedhiou, and easily faked out the pair for an open layup with 4.9 seconds left to tie the game.
In overtime, the Badgers came to life. Pritzl drilled a pair of threes and Happ found space on the inside. They clogged the lange on the defensive, forcing four Golden Gopher turnovers and allowing just one field goal in the final ten minutes of the game. Ford hit a pair of free throws with 37.6 seconds to go to put the game on ice.
Davison went cold for a large portion of the second half, finishing with 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting, but his slack was picked up by Pritzl. His efficient night culminated in a career-high 20 points on 6-of-9 from downtown.
Happ eventually worked his way up to double figures, finishing with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, but UW will need him to look for his shot earlier if they want to finish the season on a high note.
Next up, the Badgers head to Evanston for their penultimate game of the season against Northwestern.
Check back later at Dailycardinal.com/section/sports for complete coverage of Wisconsin's victory.