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Game notes: No. 9 Wisconsin 60, Rutgers 54

The Badgers ended their long road trip on a high note by beating the Scarlet Knights at The RAC.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Needing a bounce-back victory, the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers (11-3 overall, 5-2 Big Ten) traded blows with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-5 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) and came out with a six point win on Friday night, 60-54.

The Badgers came out of the gates firing on all cylinders and showing an aggressiveness that was lacking in their loss at Michigan earlier in the week. Wisconsin won the first quarter of the game 17-9 which helped them hold off Rutgers who made a couple of charges and even led the game with 8:36 remaining.

Here are some fun facts, highlights and quotes from after the game!

  • Greg Gard improved to 6-2 all-time against Rutgers and got his first win at the RAC in three tries.
  • UW held Rutgers to just 54 points, the Scarlet Knights’ second-lowest output of the season. RU entered the game averaging 70.9 points.
  • The Badgers matched their season high with 10 steals.
  • UW recorded nine blocked shots, the team’s most in a Big Ten game since posting 10 blocks against Illinois on Jan. 19, 2018. Wisconsin also had 10 blocked shots earlier this season against Eastern Illinois.
  • Wisconsin held Rutgers scoreless for a span of 5:15 late in the second half (8:36-3:21). The Badgers enjoyed a 12-0 run during that stretch, going from down 44-42 to a 54-44 lead.
  • The Badgers are 7-0 this season when attempting 20 or more free throws. UW shot 16-for-21 (76.2%) from the free throw line, while the Scarlet Knights were just 2-for-7.
  • The Badgers held RU to just 2-for-19 (10.5%) shooting from 3-point range, including 0-for-11 during the second half.
  • Wisconsin had just nine turnovers in the game, including three in the second half and zero in the final 8:42 of the game. The Badgers have now had 11 or fewer TOs in 32 consecutive games.
  • Senior G Brad Davison scored 14 points, going 5-for-5 at the free throw line. He also tallied new season highs with seven rebounds and three steals.
  • Senior F Aleem Ford matched his season-high with 14 points, six rebounds, two steals and a career-high four blocked shots.
  • Senior G D’Mitrik Trice finished with 13 points, including nine in the final 7:04 of the game. He also added four rebounds, five assists and two steals.
  • Trice now owns 1,210 career points, moving into No. 25 place on Wisconsin’s all-time scoring list. Brad Davison also surpassed Dick Cable (1,180) to move into No. 27 place.
  • Senior F Micah Potter contributed 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. He also blocked a shot and registered two steals.
  • Sophomore F Tyler Wahl made his fourth-career start and played a career-high 36 minutes.
  • Senior F Nate Reuvers played 17 minutes and had three points, zero rebounds and one block.

Greg Gard

  • On playing tough defense, “We were able to keep them out of the paint and force some tough shots. I thought we did a good job of shrinking the floor as much as possible.”
  • On Trice’s late game performance, “He hit some big shots there as we were able to stretch out the lead to 10. He picked the right spots.”
  • On giving up so many paint points, “Everybody has a hard time keeping them out of the paint. They’re a handful to keep out of the paint, always have been.” Gard praised RU’s guard Jacob Young’s ability to drive to the basket and overall game a couple of times throughout his interview.
  • On Aleem Ford’s defense, “I thought he did do a good job. He rebounded well and hit some big shots too.”
  • On playing differently than they did against Michigan, “The energy and the grit and the togetherness I thought was, it’s what it takes to win against Rutgers.”
  • On Wahl starting over Reuvers, “I had to have mobility on Harper because we were going to have to do some switching. It gave us the flexibility to be able to do that since they player four guards, if you count Harper as a guard.”
  • On long road trip, “It wasn’t the most pleasant two days, I’ll tell you that, because there were a lot of people not in good moods. We wanted to use these two days to improve as a team.”

Brad Davison

  • “Defense, rebounding, togetherness.” This seemed to be what the team had been focusing on since the Michigan game as Davison, Gard and Ford all talked about it in some form or another.
  • On Aleem Ford, “His game has grown immensely. He’s really confident right now. Offensively he did a lot of great things getting to the rim. Defensively he did an amazing job on Ron Harper who is their leading scorer.”

Aleem Ford

  • On moving on from the Michigan game, “We know we are a better team than that.”
  • “Big shout out to the bench they brought a lot of energy, they were standing, and we really felt their presence today.”
  • On defending Ron Harper, Jr., “Just trying to negate how good his looks are.”