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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Brad Davison leads Badgers over Georgia Tech in B1G/ACC Challenge

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The veteran leader teamed up with Johnny Davis to hold off the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 01 Wisconsin at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fresh off of an excellent showing in Las Vegas with a Maui Invitational championship last week, the No. 23 ranked Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (6-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) was back on the road Wednesday night for a matchup with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-2 overall, 0-0 ACC) as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Highlighted by an intriguing guard battle between Johnny Davis for Wisconsin and Michael Devoe for Georgia Tech, it was Davis and the Badgers who won out to secure their sixth win of the year, 70-66.

In the opening moments of the game, Georgia Tech was able to snag an early 7-1 advantage, but a wave of three-pointers by Brad Davison and Johnny Davis gave the Badgers a two-point lead at the first media timeout.

Wisconsin was unable to get much going offensively coming out of the timeout, however, as they slipped into an extended scoring drought to allow GT to tie things up at 17 with six minutes remaining in the first half.

Over the final minutes of the half, the Badgers were able to play excellent defense and draw some fouls on a pair of Georgia Tech starters to take a slight edge into halftime.

Coming out of the intermission the Brad Davison took matters into his own hands to push the Wisconsin lead to 10 at the first media timeout, as the senior guard went scorch earth with four straight buckets.

Georgia Tech was able to cut into the lead by making five of their next seven buckets, but Wisconsin was able to hang tough to maintain a seven-point lead with just under eight minutes left to play. The Yellow Jackets kicked it into high gear though to tie things up with around five and half minutes remaining and swing momentum in their favor.

The Badgers punched back with a pair of Chucky Hepburn free throws and a layup by Tyler Wahl to take a four-point lead as Georgia Tech went on a scoring drought of their own.

Over the final few minutes, Wisconsin made things interesting by missing some crucial free throws, but in the end, they were able to finish off the Yellow Jackets for a four-point win.

Notable stat lines:

  • Brad Davison —> 27 points (9-of-16 from the floor), two rebounds, three assists
  • Johnny Davis —> 15 points (4-of-9 from the floor), six rebounds, five assists
  • Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech) —> 33 points (11-of-20 from the floor), six rebounds

Three things that stood out:

No. 1: Davis(son) tandem

Brad Davison and Johnny Davis were great against Georgia Tech. The duo combined to score 25 of the Badgers 32 total points in the first half and were instrumental in the second half as well for different reasons. Davison continued to shoot the ball well, including four-straight makes while Davis was on the bench to give the team a huge lift on offense. Johnny Davis on the other hand clamped up on defense.

Overall, the two guards scored 42 of the team’s 70 points to lead the way in the victory.

No. 2: Defense

All season long defense has been the calling card of this Wisconsin team. Against Georgia Tech, the defense was the primary factor that kept them in the game during the first half despite spurts of scoring trouble. The Badgers did a great job of dictating the tempo to fit their style and locking down in the half-court. Georgia Tech guard Michael Devoe still got his with 17 points, but the rest of the Yellow Jackets only shot 29% in the first half.

In the second half, Georgia Tech was able to score on the Badgers for a few stretches, but towards the end of the game, Wisconsin did a phenomenal job of limiting opportunities, specifically from three. Georgia Tech failed to make a three-point shot in the second half after shooting 60% from deep in the first twenty minutes.

The way Wisconsin has played defense thus far this season they should be able to hang with anyone on their schedule assuming they shoot the ball reasonably well.

No. 3: Road Test

Georgia Tech represented the first true road test for Wisconsin this season. Coming off of a strong showing in the Maui Invitational a road letdown was not out of the question for the newly ranked Badgers. However, the young team was able to overcome a 33-point performance by Michael Devoe and take care of business.

Even with a hostile crowd chanting such things as “Steve you suck” towards Steven Crowl following an air ball, the Badgers were able to remain calm and do enough to take down a solid ACC team with a potential All-American guard.

Wisconsin did miss three out of four free throws down the stretch to allow Georgia Tech to have a chance late, but it’s hard not to be impressed with the way this team has answered the call early in the season.

Up next: The Badgers, in their brand new alternate jerseys, will be back at the Kohl Center on Saturday with in-state rival Marquette coming to town. Tip-off is set for 11:30 a.m. CT with a Stripe Out for those in attendance.