After a disappointing loss to Penn State last week, the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (8-4 Big Ten, 14-5 overall) came back to dominate the Nittany Lions (3-7 Big Ten, 6-8 overall) Tuesday night 72-56 at the Kohl Center.
Freshman guard Johnny Davis led Wisconsin in scoring on the night — setting a career high with 17 points on 6-7 shooting, including 4-4 from beyond the arc.
It was somewhat of a surprise performance for Davis, whose previous scoring high was 12 points against both Marquette and Loyola Chicago. Davis was also just 4-17 from three point range on the year coming into tonight.
“I’ve been dealing with some confidence issues the last few games, especially shooting from three, so seeing that first one go down was huge,” Davis said after the game.
Davis did show some growing pains during the game however, committing six turnovers in 18 minutes on the court, though most of them were in the first half.
“I’ll definitely remember the turnovers more than the made three’s tonight though, I need to be stronger with the ball,” he said.
Trevor Anderson had a big night too, putting up a very efficient nine points to go along with three assists that led to eight Johnny Davis points.
“Getting stops, getting out in transition and stopping them from getting into transition [are important],” Anderson said. “Every day is a grind in this conference, so moving on and getting back to work is stuff we like to do as a unit.”
Seven out of the eight Badgers to see meaningful minutes in the game scored more than five points tonight — shockingly excluding D’Mitrik Trice who went 0-5 from the floor, though he contributed six assists and four rebounds to the cause. Brad Davison put up 13 points behind Davis, and Potter scored 12 to round out the Badgers in double digits.
Wisconsin’s team defense was much improved in this second contest between the two teams, holding Penn State to under 40 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from three.
After ending the first half up just 33-31, second half defense was key for Wisconsin, who allowed the Nittany Lions to shoot just 35 percent in the half. At one point Penn State was 0-7 from the field to start the second, which allowed Wisconsin to jump out to a 15 point lead on a 19-4 run.
Penn State also didn’t score a single point in transition all night despite Wisconsin turning the ball over a season high 15 times.
“I think our transition defense and defensive energy were way better tonight, holding Penn State to no transition points is huge,” head coach Greg Gard said. “We were much more connected on defense tonight, much better as a team.”
Nate Reuvers etched his own name in the history books tonight, scoring his 1,000th point as a Badger on a midrange jumper from the right elbow. Reuvers joins a host of other Badgers to score a grand over his career, including teammates D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison, as well as assistant coach Alando Tucker.
Wisconsin is now 5-0 coming off of losses this year, the Badgers are holding teams to 57.2 points per game on 36.9 percent shooting in those games.
Wisconsin will travel to Champaign, Illinois for its next matchup against the No. 12 Illinois Fighting Illini, who are coming off a big win against one of the Big Ten favorites in No. 8 Iowa.