King stars, helps Badgers take down Hoosiers in Madison
For the Badgers, Kobe King reigned supreme.
Wisconsin (1-0 Big Ten, 5-4 overall) ended a three-game losing streak behind King’s career-high 24 points as the Badgers opened up conference play by beating the previously-undefeated Indiana Hoosiers (0-1 Big Ten, 8-1 overall) 84-64.
UW came out firing in the first half, racing out to a 10-0 run with threes from King and junior forwards Aleem Ford and Nate Reuvers as the Badgers had a 19-4 lead with 13:31 left in the half.
Wisconsin’s offense shot 63 percent from the field and 46 percent from three during the first half, flipping the script on their shooting struggles during the three-game losing streak.
“We made shots early, got a little mojo going, got some confidence and made good things happen,” head coach Greg Gard said. “We were able to get some things going, I thought we took good shots, moved the ball unselfishly and obviously did a lot of good things.”
The Badgers looked to get some confidence back at home and King said it helped to spark the offense. The LaCrosse-native was aggressive in driving to the basket, something that the coaches were looking for as a way to improve.
“The last few days, the coaches were telling us to attack the paint and stay aggressive,” King said. “I’m happy with how we played today.”
King’s big day was given a standing ovation as he came off with less than a minute left alongside Nate Reuvers, who was hyping up the scoring leader.
“I told him he’s my dog,” Reuvers said. “I let him know he’s a killer.”
Reuvers also found his groove offensively, with the junior forward scoring 20 points to keep pace with King’s big night.
The fast start was crucial for Wisconsin as they held a 47-27 lead at halftime that they held the rest of the game. After the three-game losing streak, Gard was happy to see the team make those shots.
“It’s great to see the ball go in and see guys smiling after the last few games,” Gard said.
In the second half, Wisconsin continued to shoot well and held a 31-point lead at one point. Senior guard Brevin Pritzl, who had 9 points coming off the bench, noted that the Badgers moved the ball much better, something they looked to improve after those loses.
“At times, we weren’t sticking to our guns. Coaches got on us about running our offense and not let the [other] defense dictate,” Pritzl said. “We all sat down, figured out what works best and executed.”
The Badgers are now undefeated at home this season, but have lost all their games away from the Kohl Center, an issue Gard is hoping the team can solve.
“We got to bottle this performance and see if we can play like this when we wear red jerseys,” Gard said.
After the early season struggles in non-conference games, Pritzl said the team was motivated to play some Big Ten conference games, and coaches reminded the team that the team was “starting all over” for the conference slate.
“At the end of the day, we’re all coming into Big Ten play 0-0 and we have to play with that mentality. You have to win the first one and keep that momentum going,” Pritzl said.
After the big win over Indiana, Wisconsin will hope to make a win streak of their own as they head to Rutgers (6-2) Wednesday Dec. 11.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter