The No. 3 seed Wisconsin Badgers made the short trip down I-94 to Fiserv Forum (otherwise known as “Kohl Center East”) in Milwaukee on Friday night to take on the No. 14 Colgate Raiders in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It’s rare that a team plays a true home tournament game, but Badger Nation showed up big time for the late tip.
UW took control of the game late and escaped a first round scare from the Patriot League champs, winning this one 67-60.
The Badgers came out of the locker room sluggish, which is beginning to become an unfortunate trend for this team at the wrong time. At the first media timeout, Wisconsin was shooting 1-of-7 from the field and trailed 6-2. Although the offense struggled, the defense stepped up as they’ve done all year, holding Colgate scoreless for minutes at a time.
It would take some time, but Bucky would find their groove in the first half. Johnny Davis’ first five points of the game were part of a 9-0 run that gave the Badgers a 19-15 lead. Following the Badgers’ run, Colgate went on an 11-4 run of their own to regain control.
At the halftime break, the game was tied at 28. Johnny Davis led the Badgers in first half scoring with eight points (3-of-11 shooting).
Tyler Wahl got the Badgers going in the second half, scoring seven points in the first three minutes and somehow it wasn’t the most impressive start to the half. Colgate’s Tucker Richardson came out of the locker room red hot, connecting on three three-pointers in the first four minutes to keep Colgate in the game.
Colgate’s shooting display in the first nine minutes of the second half was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. If anyone is unaware, Colgate ranks second in the COUNTRY in three point shooting. The Raiders connected on six of their first seven three pointers of the half but despite the lights out shooting, the Badgers hung around.
After Colgate took a 52-48 lead with 10:40 to play, the Badger defense took over and the Raiders did not score for the next 7:07 of game time. Over that period of time, the Badgers went on a 10-0 run to take a 58-52 lead. In a game that was largely a back and forth affair, this was the stretch that won the Badgers the game.
When it mattered most, Johnny Davis played his best basketball. The consensus All-American scored 17 points in the second half including a three pointer with 1:28 left to give the Badgers a nine point lead. Dagger.
The Badger defense allowed a total of EIGHT points in the final 10:40 of the game, four of which came from the free throw line and two of which came on an uncontested layup with just seconds to play. That’s about as good as it gets.
Notable stat lines:
- Tyler Wahl —> 15 points (7-of-18 from the floor), nine rebounds, four assists, two steals
- Johnny Davis —> 25 points (8-of-20 from the floor), eight rebounds, two steals
- Chucky Hepburn —> eight points (3-of-6 from the floor), five assists, six rebounds
- Nelly Cummings (Colgate) —> 20 points (8-of-20 from the floor), six rebounds, six assists
Up next: the Badgers take on No. 11 Iowa State on Sunday in the Round of 32. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:10 PM CT on TNT.