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Takeaways from Wisconsin’s win vs. Northwestern

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Quick thoughts on the Badgers’ win ... with a ‘90s theme!

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Northwestern Nuccio DiNuzzo-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers fought off a feisty Northwestern Wildcats squad on the road in a 69-64 victory at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston on Saturday night.

Four players—all starters—scored in double figures for Wisconsin (19-8. 11-5 Big Ten), which currently sits in fifth place in the Big Ten standings as of Sunday morning.

Before turning the page to Indiana on Tuesday night, here are some quick thoughts on Wisconsin’s win—and because it was ‘90s night at Northwestern on Saturday night (and also for the Milwaukee Bucks at the Fiserv Forum), we are adding a certain pop twist.

D’Mitrik Trice carries team in first half, others pick up the slack in second

Accompanying ‘90s song: “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” by Backstreet Boys; “This is How We Do It,” by Montell Jordan

If Trice does not lead the way with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the first 20 minutes, Wisconsin finds itself in a deeper hole heading into halftime against a desperate team that tried to snap its seven-game losing streak. Three of those were three-pointers, and he finished with 14 points overall on 4-of-9 shooting from deep, 5-of-13 overall.

In the second half, Ethan Happ, Brad Davison, and Khalil Iverson all worked their way more into the scoring category. Happ tallied nine of his 14, Davison 10 of his 18, and Iverson six of his 11 points in those final 20 minutes.

Though he only scored six points, Aleem Ford’s two clutch threes also re-established leads for Wisconsin earlier in the second half in answering Dererk Pardon and Northwestern.

Ethan Happ reasserted himself in final 20 minutes

Accompanying ‘90s song: “Smooth,” by Santana feat. Rob Thomas; “Hypnotize,” by Notorious B.I.G.

A rougher first half for the Badgers’ big man saw him score five points, four rebounds, but also three turnovers on 2-of-6 shooting.

Happ turned it around in the second half, making four of five from the field in that frame and finishing the game with 14 points with 10 rebounds and three assists. Whether it was a combination of him naturally getting on track and Northwestern guarding him differently than the first half, it felt like a matter of time before he turned it around.

Perhaps another positive sign here was the fact he made two of four from the free-throw line; this after missing all three attempts against Illinois and six against Michigan State.

Khalil Iverson and Brad Davison come up big late

Accompanying ‘90s songs: “Whoomp! (There It Is),” by Tag Team (for the three “and-one” opportunities they combined to receive); “Closing Time,” by Semisonic (note the latter song is really just because of the title since the two, well, helped close the door on Northwestern’s chances to win)

From the 4:47 to the :08 mark of the second half, the duo scored all of Wisconsin’s 12 points—six each.

Building off a 16-point, nine-rebound performance against Illinois, Iverson converted two three-point plays within two minutes of each other, each opportunity ending with him draining the corresponding free throw. In a back-and-forth game like it was, both allowed Wisconsin to regain the lead.

With 3:31 remaining, Davison drove and made a layup of his own that drew a foul of his own, though he could not complete the “and-one.”

Davison scored eight points in the final 10:41 of the game, but perhaps his final four points were the most crucial, however.

Under two minutes left in regulation, Davison stepped back and hit a key jumper that received several big bounces but ultimately fell in to push the Wisconsin lead to three at 65-62.

Then after Vic Law cut the Northwestern deficit to one at 65-64 with 15 seconds to play, Davison went to the line after being fouled. He made two free throws with under 10 seconds remaining to again extend the lead to three points.

Aaron Falzon’s three-point attempt did not find the bottom of the net, and Wisconsin held on for the win.

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