After the visiting Tigers tied it up at 22-22 with 7:11 remaining in the first half, Wisconsin went on a 17-5 run to end the first half. The dynamic duo of forward Ethan Happ and guard D’Mitrik Trice led the way in the 5:34 span, as Happ tallied seven points while Trice contributed five points in that time frame.
Overall, Happ scored a game-high 19 points while grabbing eight rebounds and recording five assists. His sixth rebound with 18:16 remaining in the game placed him in a prestigious club in conference history, as he became the 15th Big Ten player to record a 1,000 rebounds in a career.
Trice scored 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting (1-of-4 from three-point range) while also dishing out three assists.
In that first half, Wisconsin shot 56 percent from the field (14-of-25). Four Badgers scored in double digits on Saturday, as guard Kobe King and forward Nate Reuvers tallied 10 points and four rebounds each. King connected on two of three three-point attempts.
A strong second half allowed Wisconsin (10-2, 2-0 Big Ten) to push out that lead even further. A 26-6 run to start the final 20 minutes allowed the Badgers to increase their advantage to 32, as Brevin Pritzl’s jumper gave UW a 65-33 lead at the 10:10 mark of the second half.
That would not be the biggest lead however, as two Michael Ballard free throws made it 82-48 with 2:08 left in the game. Those were the first two points of Ballard’s career, for that matter.
Overall for the game, Wisconsin shot 49.1 percent (28 of 57) from the field but only 38.1 percent from three-point range (eight of 21). Redshirt sophomore forward Aleem Ford contributed nine points and four rebounds, hitting three of six three-point attempts in the win. Sophomore guard Brad Davison also tallied seven points with three steals.
Junior guard/forward Dallas Polk-Hilliard recorded a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Junior guard Lasani Johnson scored 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting as well for Grambling State (6-7).
Overall, the Badgers held the Tigers to 38 percent shooting (19-of-50), though Grambling State made eight of 17 from three-point range.
After a break of about a week, Wisconsin closes out regular season non-conference action after the holiday on Dec. 29 when they travel to Western Kentucky to take on the Hilltoppers.