After getting back on a winning track against Ohio State last Sunday at the Kohl Center, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (15-10 overall, 8-6 B1G) had nearly a full week off in anticipation of Saturday afternoon’s road contest with the Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-18 overall, 2-12 B1G).
Entering the game, Nebraska came home nursing a nine game losing streak, while Wisconsin was hoping to secure consecutive wins for the first time in a month.
On Saturday, it was the Badgers that would parlay some hot shooting to escape a can’t lose game with a 81 to 64 win over the Cornhuskers.
In the first few minutes of the game, both teams came out shooting just over 30%, as the two teams exchanged baskets, but Nebraska would find some momentum to take a three point lead into the second media timeout.
The Badgers were forced to maneuver through some foul trouble, as both Nate Reuvers and Aleem Ford sat out a good portion of the first half with two fouls apiece. Wisconsin would eventually find their footing offensively as they went inside with Micah Potter, but the Badgers struggled to get a stop against the cutting and driving Nebraska offense. Wisconsin would trail 26-22 with eight minutes in the first half.
Over the final few minutes of the first half, Wisconsin was able to chip away at the deficit, and began to get some easy baskets of their own inside. The interior touches, would lead to some improved three-point shooting as well, as Brad Davison and Micah Potter carried the offensive load to push the Badgers to a one-point lead at the half.
Halftime.— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 15, 2020
Wisconsin takes the lead thanks to BIG SHOT BRAD.
Wisconsin up 39-38. Davison and Potter with 2/3 of the points so far (26).
In the second half, Wisconsin would jump out to a six point lead after five minutes of play thanks to some strong play by D’Mitrik Trice and Nate Reuvers. The duo propelled the Badgers to a 10-2 run, and continued to pour it on as Wisconsin would jump out to a 14 lead at the midway mark in the second half.
Wisconsin was able to maintain their dominance in the second half, and secure a big road win 81-64 over Nebraska thanks to 19 assists.
Game over. UW wins 81-64.— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 15, 2020
Wisconsin takes care of Nebraska on the road to win their first pair consecutive wins in over a month.
Brad Davison led the way with 30 points (tied a career high) on eight three pointers (tied school record).
Notable stat lines:
- Micah Potter —> 15 points (6-of-8 from the floor), seven rebounds, one block
- Brad Davison —> 30 points (11-of-17 from the floor), four assists, five rebounds
- D’Mitrik Trice —> 15 points (5-of-10 from the floor), five assists, three rebounds
- Nate Reuvers —> 13 points (6-of-10 from the floor), three rebounds, two blocks
- Haanif Cheatham (Nebraska) —> 17 points (7-of-12 from the floor), two assists, three rebounds
Three things that stood out:
No. 1: Lay-up lines
In the first 12 minutes of the basketball game, Nebraska shot an astounding 58.8% from the field, as they were able to penetrate the inside of the Wisconsin defense repeatedly with cutters and off the dribble.
The Badgers would respond with some solid interior offense of their own though, as the combination of Micah Potter and Brad Davison went to work in the lane.
The paint was both teams friend throughout the game, as Nebraska had 20 of their 38 points coming in the lane in the first half, compared to Wisconsin’s 14.
For the game, Nebraska would finish with 34 points from the paint, while Wisconsin finished with 26. A big reason for Nebraska’s success inside was the lack of time for Reuvers as he battled foul trouble, but the Badgers help defense was not nearly up to snuff given his absence inside.
Who else is excited to see what Nate Reuvers can do when he's on the court against a small Nebraska front line?!?!— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 15, 2020
The junior big man only played FOUR minutes in the first half thanks to foul trouble.
He and Micah Potter hopefully can eat up inside in the second half.
No. 2: Three Musketeers
With Reuvers pushed to the sideline in the first half thanks to foul trouble, Potter was forced into a greater role against the Cornhuskers. The junior big man surely delivered, scoring 11 first half points on 4-of-5 shooting. His running mate, Davison, was also a big help, pouring in 15 points in the first half as well. The duo scored 26 of the Badgers 39 points, and were a primary reason that Wisconsin was in the lead midway through.
In the second half though, Trice and Reuvers would explode in the early going to carry the Badgers, but Davison was absolutely unstoppable all game long with 30 points on a career high (and tied school record) eight three-pointers.
For the game, the quartet of Davison, Reuvers, Trice, and Potter played sweet music to the tune of 73 points, an insane 90% of the team total of 81.
All for one, and one for all!
We @B5Q are a learned bunch, so...— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 15, 2020
Trice (15 points and 5 assists) -- Athos
Davison (30 points) --> D'Artagnan
Reuvers (13 points in 16 minutes) --> Aramis
Potter (15 points and 7 boards) --> Porthos
They combined for 73 of 81 total points.
Greg Gard --> Alexandre Dumas
No. 3: Pace of play
Nebraska was able to speed up Wisconsin repeatedly during the game Saturday. The Badgers routinely aim to slow the pace of play, as they are in the lower 5% of college basketball in pace, but Nebraska was the dictator in this contest.
On the season, Wisconsin came in averaging only 65.6 possessions per game, while also holding their opponent to a similar figure generally. Nebraska on the other hand generally wants to push tempo, with an average of 75+ possessions per game, the highest mark in the Big Ten.
Nebraska firmly established their way of playing against the Badgers, but Wisconsin didn’t mind, scoring 81 points on 49% shooting for the game.
Up next: The Badgers have a quick turnaround on tap with Purdue coming to the Kohl Center Tuesday night. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CST on ESPN.