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Wisconsin Men’s Basketball: Badgers win ugly in Atlantis

It wasn’t pretty, but the Badgers found a way to win.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Dayton at Wisconsin Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin men’s basketball got their Battle 4 Atlantis tournament underway this afternoon as they matched up with the Dayton Flyers in Nassau.

The game started in, well, pretty ugly fashion as neither team could get much of anything going on the offensive side of the court. The lone bright spot, aside from the Badger defense, was that of Connor Essegian who scored 11 of the Badger's 23 points in the first half. While the Badger offense struggled, Dayton struggled more and the Badgers were able to head to half leading 23-14.

In the second half, Dayton came alive a bit on the offensive end to crawl back into the game. Wisconsin on the other hand continued to struggle, but some timely shots allowed Wisconsin to skate by through a portion of the second half. Reserve Markus Ilver was a huge piece for the Badgers in that section of the game knocking down two threes in a matter of minutes.

Late in the second half, Wisconsin was ice cold on the offensive side of the court, missing 15 of 16 down the stretch. Dayton continued to struggle, but eventually, the lack of scoring caught up to the Badgers, and Dayton was able to tie the game at 39 with minutes to go.

When it seemed like things were all but lost for the Badgers Tyler Wahl finally made his presence known by putting in a contest layup while getting fouled. Wahl would make the free throw to give the Badgers a huge 3 point play late.

In the final four minutes, both teams continued to miss shot after show but a pair of free throws from Steven Crowl gave the Badgers a four-point lead. Dayton would quickly cut that to two with a lay up from Toumani Camara.

With just a minute to go Dayton was able to draw a foul to get to the line to try and tie the game. However, Dayton would miss one of two to put the game at 43-42 in favor of the Badgers. At the 30-second mark, Steven Crowl had a layup to try and extend the lead, but Dayton was able to get a hand on it and block it away.

That gave the Flyers the ball with just 24 seconds to play meaning the Badgers would need one more crucial stop. Once again, they found that stop as Wisconsin’s Max Klesmit was able to block what looked like a pretty clean layup look for Dayton. Klesmit’s block forced a shot clock violation for Dayton and gave the Badgers the ball with just a second to play. Wisconsin was able to inbound and run the time off to pick up an UGLY 43-42 victory over the Flyers.

Overall, this game was about as horrendous as basketball games can be. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Wisconsin’s defense was stout for a full 40 minutes, but the offense struggled mightily. In fact, it looks like this one one of the worst offensive games in Badger history. I am not being dramatic folks.

A win is a win but Wisconsin will really need to wake things up in a hurry as they draw the Kansas Jayhawks in the second round of this Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. The Badgers will need to play with the same defensive intensity, but they’ll need to be more consistent on the offensive end to have any sort of chance against the 3rd-ranked Jayhawks. That game will tip on Thanksgiving Day at 11 AM on ESPN.