MADISON — The Wisconsin Badgers and Johnny Davis put together another strong performance in Big Ten play on Sunday afternoon, this time against Michigan to improve to 21-5 overall and 12-4 in the conference.
Let’s dig into what was learned from the big conference win.
Wisconsin men’s basketball: #Badgers outpunch Michigan, 77-63, on Sunday afternoon— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 20, 2022
Johnny Davis had another monster game that will be remembered for everything that happened after the final buzzer. https://t.co/8LW6qOozg8 pic.twitter.com/BocoaRXq5z
Three things that stood out...
No. 1: Three-pointers
Neither team shot particularly well on Sunday from behind the three-point arc. Michigan was 1-of-10 in the first half, while the Badgers did not make a three-point attempt until minutes into the second half.
The Badgers would find their shot in the final 20 minutes and that turned out to be a big factor in Wisconsin pulling away late in the game. While Wisconsin made four of their seven second half attempts, Michigan was still ice cold even with open opportunities from deep. The Wolverines finished shooting 4-of-25 from three-point range and much of that was due to the Badgers closing out well and locking down defensively in the second half.
Greg Gard’s opening statement in postgame pic.twitter.com/zMuABdVZfG— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) February 20, 2022
No. 2: Crowl + Hepburn
Johnny Davis was once again that DUDE. He absolutely took over midway through the second half and deserves a ton of credit for once again leading the Badgers to victory. Davis continues to put together a stellar season and his 25 points on 17 shots against Michigan was just another data point in his National Player of the Year campaign.
However, two players that are frequently overlooked for their contributions this season are Chucky Hepburn and Steven Crowl. The two youngsters came up with crucial buckets for the Badgers during the game that helped galvanize the team.
In the first half, with Johnny Davis on the bench, it was Hepburn who put together seven points in a three minute stretch to give the team a lead after the team started off a little slow.
In the second half, Hepburn would find Crowl with a pretty behind the back pass for a gigantic three-pointer that swung the game back in favor of the Badgers once again after a slow start to the half.
In a game that required Crowl to go toe-to-toe with one of the better centers in the Big Ten, he played well offensively and gave the team a big lift with 11 points and five rebounds. He also played a key role in holding Hunter Dickinson to only six points in the second half. Hepburn also came up huge for the Badgers, adding 10 points and four assists to go along with some tremendous defense.
No. 3: Second half surge + brawl
The Badgers improved their defensive effort in the second half and were able to pull away from Michigan behind the play of Johnny Davis and others. Even after a tough start to the second half, Wisconsin found a way to turn things around and put together a tremendous half of basketball. The Badgers shot 57% from the floor and from three, and were able to make some crucial adjustments against the Wolverines.
Statement by Wisconsin AD Chris McIntosh pic.twitter.com/nWYOkecHLx— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) February 20, 2022
Unfortunately, the game was overshadowed by the post-game actions of Juwan Howard and others that resulted in punches being thrown. That became the primary storyline from the game, and at this point the only question remaining is how the Big Ten offices will handle the event moving forward.
It’s hard to imagine what a game might look like between these two squads if they meet again in the Big Ten Tournament in March. Either way, it appears there is now bad blood between Wisconsin and Michigan basketball.
Wow. Ugly scene…— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) February 20, 2022
Lots of pushing and shoving after the game pic.twitter.com/fcFSA6p5T1
Up next: The Badgers will take their talents back on the road on Wednesday for a matchup with border rival Minnesota. Tip time is set for 8 p.m. CT and the game will be aired on BTN.