MADISON—A big run late in the first half allowed the Wisconsin Badgers to pull away and ultimately overwhelm the Grambling State Tigers in a dominant 84-53 win on Saturday at the Kohl Center.
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.
Congratulations, @EthanHapp22!— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) December 22, 2018
Just the 15th player in Big Ten h̲i̲s̲t̲o̲r̲y̲ to reach 1⃣0⃣0⃣0⃣ rebounds pic.twitter.com/j6x5UrYLjE
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.
Unfair, but we're used to seeing @EthanHapp22 do it. pic.twitter.com/DjEB8Wyjhv— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) December 22, 2018
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.
What's @BadgerMBB about?— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) December 22, 2018
This play, and all of the beautiful ball movement, sums it up. pic.twitter.com/SIOrOEHeZY