Despite early struggles, No. 12 Badgers earn 69-64 win against Rutgers
Senior forward Ethan Happ had 18 points and 11 rebounds as Wisconsin staged a second-half comeback to extend its winning streak to five games.Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger
Trailing Rutgers 27-17 in the waning moments of the first half Monday, it appeared likely the No. 12 Wisconsin basketball team (2-0 Big Ten, 8-1 overall) would earn themselves a dubious distinction. The Badgers had turned the ball over five times and made zero three-pointers and were poised to become the first team since January 2008 to lose as a ranked team at home to the Scarlet Knights (0-2, 5-3 overall).
And then, as had been the case in the last two games, the Badgers found their groove. They started knocking down threes, moved the ball more effectively and scored in bunches. When the final buzzer sounded, they had secured a 69-64 victory.
Senior forward Ethan Happ led the way once again, notching 20 points. Sophomore guard D’Mitrik Trice added 14 as the Badgers earned their second straight conference win. Junior forward Eugene Omoruyi scored 17 points for Rutgers as three players reached double-digits. Sophomore guards Geo Baker and Peter Kiss were the other two to reach double figures, with 15 and 12, respectively.
UW didn’t lead until two minutes into the second half after allowing Rutgers to shoot 63 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes. The Badgers only scored two baskets in nearly 10 minutes in the first half.
Senior guard Khalil Iverson finally gave Wisconsin a spark after the break, contributing a mini 4-0 run on his own in the first 42 seconds of the second period. Trice hit several clutch jump shots down the stretch, and junior guard Brevin Pritzl provided some hustle plays to put the game on ice.
Sophomore guard Trevor Anderson, who suffered an injury last time out against Iowa, did not play. Sophomore guard Brad Davison headed to the locker room after a collision late in the game, but returned to finish out the contest.
Next up for the Badgers is an in-state tilt against rival Marquette. Tip at the brand-new Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.
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