Badgers fall 83-76 on the road against Western Kentucky

Sophomore guard Brad Davison scored 24 points in Wisconsin's losing effort to Western Kentucky.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

After a weeklong break for the holidays, the No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0 Big Ten, 10-3 overall) traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky for their final tilt of the calendar year against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (0-0 C-USA, 7-6 overall). With the backing of a raucous crowd, WKU exposed UW’s rust, triumphing 83-76.

A torrid second-half performance from the Hilltoppers overwhelmed a hapless Wisconsin team. After leading by four at the half, they watched WKU hit shot after shot down the stretch — getting outscored 53-42 in the second 20 minutes. 

The Badgers traveled down to E.A. Diddle Arena as part of a multi-sport agreement between the schools. Along with the Hilltoppers’ basketball team traveling to Madison last season, where the Badgers scrapped past 81-80 thanks to a last minute charge call created by Brad Davison, the Hilltoppers also played Wisconsin in football for the home opener with the Badgers winning 34-3.

Western Kentucky fans evidently remembered Davison’s role in last year’s game, and he was booed throughout the game. The sophomore guard still led the way for UW with 24 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Senior center Ethan Happ added 18 points, but shot only 36 percent from the field while turning the ball over three times and having numerous shots blocked. 

Sophomore guard Taveion Hollingsworth scored 22 for the Hilltoppers, who beat a top-15 team for the first time in a decade. Four players scored 15 points or more. Freshman center Charles Bassey, who was lined up against Happ all night, enjoyed a far more efficient outing than his counterpart, scoring 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting with six rebounds and two blocks. 

Western Kentucky went on a 9-0 run early in the second half before the Badgers answered to tie the game. After that, however, WKU controlled the game, getting shots to fall from all over the floor. One three-pointer hit the backboard and rolled around the rim multiple times before falling. 

The Hilltoppers took revenge for last season’s game, and head coach Greg Gard and the rest of the Badgers will have a bad taste in their mouths after the Christmas break. They’ll return to Madison to host the Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-1 Big Ten, 10-2 overall) at the Kohl Center on January 4. 

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