The No. 17 Wisconsin Badgers recovered from a slow start against the Oklahoma Sooners, using a strong second half to win their third-straight 90-70 Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center.
Oklahoma (5-2) started off the game on a tear while Wisconsin (7-2) appeared to just be going through the motions. The Sooners shot 62.5 percent from behind the arc in the first half compared to Wisconsin’s 30.8 percent.
Nearly halfway through the first half, the teams played through a near two-minute stretch of the Kohl Center fire alarm sounding while the Sooners continued their barrage from behind the arc.
Oklahoma wasn’t just getting things done from the outside, but it was also able to shoot 50 percent from the field in the first half compared to Wisconsin’s 42.4 percent overall.
Wisconsin succumbed to nearly three minutes of scoreless basketball from 6:18-3:19 in the first half. Ethan Happ ended the scoreless streak and went on a 6-2 run by himself before Nigel Hayes attempted and made his first three-pointer since he last shot one in Wisconsin’s loss to North Carolina.
Hayes’s three-pointer brought the Badgers within one at 38-37 just before Oklahoma took a 40-37 lead into halftime led by Jordan Woodard, who went 3-of-4 from behind the arc to score nine points.
The second half yielded much different results for both teams, as Oklahoma shot 16.7 percent from deep and Wisconsin a blistering 57 percent en route to outscoring the Sooners 53-30 in the second half.
Hayes led Wisconsin in the second half, scoring 18 of his game-high 28 points. The Wisconsin offense ran through Hayes as he dished out a game-high six assists, four in the second half.
Woodard, who along with Kameron McGusty led the way for the Sooners in the first half with nine points, went scoreless in the second, only playing nine of the game’s closing 20 minutes. McGusty, along with Christian James, finished with 11 points, while Rashard Odomes led the Sooners in scoring with 17.
Wisconsin took its first lead of the game with 16:16 remaining when Zak Showalter made a three-pointer off an assist from Hayes, putting Wisconsin up 49-48.
Minutes later, Wisconsin started a 20-2 run following an Odomes 12-foot jumper that put the Sooners up 58-57. That would be their last lead of the game.
Bronson Koenig hit a three-pointer to lead off the run that eventually put the game away for the Badgers. Fueling that run was Khalil Iverson, who turned in one of his usual highlight reel-worthy dunks, bringing the Kohl Center crowd to its feet off an alley-oop from Showalter.
Wisconsin was led off the bench by D’Mitrik Trice, who scored a career-high, 16 points and shot 4-of-4 from behind the arc. Koenig and Happ also chipped in 16 each.
The win allowed Wisconsin to avenge its 65-48 loss to Oklahoma almost a year ago to the date on Nov. 29, 2015.
Next, Wisconsin hosts Idaho State (1-6) on Wednesday.