The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 76-66 for their fifth consecutive win, furthering their status as a Top 25 team.
Wisconsin struggled in the first half, shooting only 40% from the field and 28% from three, while missing four free throws, which kept the game close.
While Western Michigan wasn’t necessarily efficient in the first half, they knocked down seven of their first 13 three-pointers, ending the half down just two points, although both teams cooled off towards the end of the period.
The Badgers looked to strike from distance early, with 56% of their shots coming from three, despite owning a size advantage over the Broncos.
That was a primary reason for their demise in the first half, given their inefficiency, with forward Jordan Davis connecting on just one of five attempts from deep.
Forward Steven Crowl was the lone player with a plus-minus over three, leading his team with a plus-minus of +9.
For Western Michigan, the Badgers were tasked with defending guards Tray Maddox Jr. and Lamar Norman Jr., and held them to 5/17 shooting, although four of those shots were from distance.
However, the success from deep kept Western Michigan close in the first half, as 68% of their shots came from beyond the arc.
The second half for the Badgers was the Steven Crowl show, as the big man scored 20 points on 8/10 shooting, including 3/4 from deep, which was vital given the matchup presented to Wisconsin on the interior.
Head coach Greg Gard made the proper adjustments with an increased focus on the paint, which created opportunities outside the arc, where Wisconsin connected on 8/13 of their shots.
Crowl’s impact was even more important when considering that fellow forward Tyler Wahl played in just nine second-half minutes, with Carter Gilmore earning considerate playing time in his place.
With the superb efficiency from the Badgers offense, Wisconsin scored 47 points in the second half, which helped them maintain a 10+ point lead for the majority of the half.
Western Michigan remained resilient offensively, shooting 55.2% from the field and 50% from three, but Wisconsin’s efficiency overruled the performance of the Broncos’, leading to a ten-point Badgers victory.
Tray Maddox and Titus Wright each had eight points for the Broncos in the second half on strong efficiency, but their efforts were not enough to remain step-in-step with the Badgers offensively, dropping them to 4-9 on the season.
The Badgers will now continue conference play against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Tuesday, where they’ll look to maintain their Top 25 ranking in the AP Poll.