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Wisconsin defeats Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before Bo Ryan announces retirement

Before the news broke of Bo Ryan's retirement, the Badgers played a basketball game. And they won.

MADISON -- On the night of Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bo Ryan's retirement, the game was an afterthought.

Around the Badgers program and its fans, the mention of the basketball program at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is sure to elicit memories of uneasy nostalgia and anxiousness.

The only previous contest between the two schools was nearly a disaster for Wisconsin.

Meeting in the first round of the 2007 NCAA tournament, the 15th-seed Islanders scored the game's first 10 points and led by as many as 18 points in the first half against the second-seed Badgers.

Wisconsin avoided the upset a second half surge as guard Kammron Taylor scored 24 points points in a 76-63 victory.

Sparring on the hardwood for the first time since the shocker that never was, the Badgers' pattern to a 64-49 victory on Tuesday night at the Kohl Center was the same as it was during that NCAA Tournament game.

In 2007, a ghastly first half gave way to a much more fluid final 20 minutes of basketball.

In 2015, it was a rinse-and-repeat process for the Badgers.

Ugly? Yes.

But at this point, a win over an unranked non-conference opponent has never looked better.

After shooting 33 percent (9-27) in the first half, Wisconsin shot nearly 65 percent (11-17) to close out the game.

Forward Vitto Brown posted his first career double-double with 12 points and 16 boards while guard Bronson Koenig and forward Ethan Happ both scored 15 points to pace the Badgers.

After the game, Ryan took to the podium and announced his retirement, effective immediately. Associate head coach Greg Gard will take over as the interim head coach.

The Islanders came into Madison hot on a six-game win streak, but couldn't have been icier to open the game.

Then again, neither could the Badgers.

Rush hour traffic through Madison's isthmus moved along more quickly than the scoring pace at the game's onset.

Both teams combined to start 1-18 from the field and with under 13 minutes to play in the first half, Wisconsin led the slugfest 3-2.

Missing their first 10 shots of the game, the Badgers didn't score until forward Nigel Hayes split a pair of free throws at the 14:52 mark of the first half.

Peach baskets replaced the usual rims as offense was set back to its infant stages over the game's first nine minutes, after which the score read 7-7.

The Badgers closed out the half with a 20-12 run to gain a 27-19 halftime lead, but still only shot 33 percent (9-27) from the field and 46.2 percent (6-13) from the free throw line while committing seven turnovers.

Holding the Islanders to .633 points per possession salvaged an otherwise forgettable half for Wisconsin.

As they did in an 11-point loss at Texas earlier this season, the Islanders hung around. Scoring 10 of the second half's first 16 points, Corpus Christi trailed 33-29 with 15:08 remaining.

On this night, however, Wisconsin did what they have neglected to do on multiple occasions already this season: fend off the upset. The Badgers scored 15 points on eight possessions and used a 17-6 run over 5:55 to gain a 50-35 lead over the 13-point underdog.

With Corpus Christi foul-ridden, Wisconsin utilized a more efficient offense to go along with more than their fair share of free throws to keep the Islanders at arm's length.

The Badgers made their way to the charity stripe 31 times, but only made 18 of those attempts (58.1 percent).

In 2007, Wisconsin avoided the upset with 57 second-half first points in a 76-63 victory.

At points on Tuesday night, it looked like the Badgers wouldn't even get 57 points in the game. Despite the slow start, however, Wisconsin still finished with 1.03 points per possession.

Forward Nigel Hayes dropped to 6-23 shooting over his last two games after going 2-7 against the Islanders. The junior and Wisconsin's leading scorer on the season finished with eight points, seven rebounds, six assists and six turnovers.

The Badgers held forward Rashawn Thomas, Corpus Christi's top offensive performer, to 12 points and six rebounds. Thomas came into the game averaging 16.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

Despite shooting 4-13, guard Hameed Ali tied Thomas for the team-high in scoring with 12 points of his own.

As they have done in every game this season, Wisconsin gained the edge on the boards. The Badgers finished with 42 rebounds€”15 of which came on offense €”to Corpus Christi's 31.

Indicative of the unclean play throughout the game, the Badgers turned the ball over 15 times.