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Wisconsin men’s basketball recap: Badgers cruise after slow first half, beat Rider 65-37

After a miserable offensive first half, the Badgers pulled away in the second half.

NCAA Basketball: Rider at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Badgers closed the decade with a win, but it wasn’t pretty until the offense exploded in the second half. The Wisconsin Badgers (8-5 overall, 1-1 B1G) overcame the Rider Broncs (7-4 overall, 1-0 MAAC) 65-37 on New Year’s Eve at the Kohl Center.

An optimist would say the first half was full of excellent defense, and a pessimist would say that both offenses were horrible. Either way, the Badgers defense played well enough to hold Rider to 11 points in the first half of action.

It took way too long (four minutes, 28 seconds to be exact) for Wisconsin to take a 3-2 lead over Rider. Brevin Pritzl came off the bench to give the Badgers the early edge with a three pointer.

Pritzl was the only Badger to provide significant offense in the first half, scoring half of the Badgers’ 22 second half points. Pritzle ended the night with 11 points on four-of-seven shooting, as others would carry the scoring burden in the second half.

Wisconsin’s offense loosened up in the second half, scoring 20 points in only five and a half minutes. The flurry of scoring to open the second half was lead by three straight Brad Davison threes and a nice run by Nate Reuvers.

Davison ended with 11 points on four-of-seven shooting with all of his scoring coming after the half. Reuvers lead all scorers with 15 points on six-of-11 shooting.

Aleem Ford also scored 14 points on five-of-nine shooting. However, the most notable scorer was Courtland Cuevas, who scored his first point as a Badgers with a free throw with 30 seconds left in the game.

After the Badgers took a 48-21 lead, Wisconsin cruised the last 13 minutes to collect its eighth victory of the season.

With the win, the Badgers finish the 2010s with 248 wins against 107 losses. That’s good for a 69.86 winning percentage on the decade.

Up next for the Badgers is a date with No. 2 Ohio State (11-2 overall, 1-1 B1G) in Columbus, Ohio. Wisconsin will test its three-game winning streak against the Buckeyes on Friday, January 3 at 6 p.m.

Fun facts (courtesy UW Athletic Department)

  • Wisconsin held Rider to 11 points in the first half, tied for the sixth-lowest all time and the fewest allowed in a half since 2011.
  • Rider finished the game with 37 points, the fewest allowed by the Badgers since 2016 (Dec. 23 vs. Florida A&M, 90-37 win).
  • The Badgers improved to 7-0 at home this season and won their 10th-straight home game dating back to last season.
  • UW has won 15 straight non-conference home games.