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Wisconsin prevails in foul-infested win over Prairie View A&M

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Though hard to watch at times, the Badgers got their holiday off to a winning start by pulling away from Prairie View A&M in the second half.

Wisconsin shot 55 percent after halftime and used a 20-7 run midway through the second half to put away Prairie View A&M, 85-67, on Wednesday night in Madison.

A total of 45 fouls were called in the game, with the Panthers (0-5) whistled for 27 of them. The five Badger starters shot a perfect 15-of-15 from the line and dished out 15 of the team's 17 assists, led by junior forward Nigel Hayes' seven helpers.

Eight different UW players made a free throw by the 12:52 mark of the second half as Wisconsin (4-2) pushed it's lead back to double digits for good on two Charlie Thomas freebies.

Prairie View caught fire in the opening half, sinking 13-of-22 (59%) from the floor and 7-of-9 (78%) shots from long distance despite coming into the game as a 22.6 percent three-point shooting team.

"Two of those were step backs that a guy is going to get off anyhow," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. "They weren't easy threes. We had a guy right on him, Showy got juked a little bit and didn't quite get back."

The Panthers hung tough throughout most of the first half, taking a 16-15 lead on a Tevin Bellinger three-pointer when Zak Showalter and freshman Khalil Iverson got mixed up on a switch. It was hardly the only defensive mix up of the night for the Badgers, which allowed Prairie View to gain confidence.

However, the Panthers misfired on their only three-point attempt of the second half and finished 23-for-46 (50%) from the floor.

Bellinger, a junior guard, had 21 points to lead all scorers.

The Badgers had their share of highlights too, in between all the fouls. It was a certified slamfest for Wisconsin, starring Iverson, Ethan Happ and Vitto Brown. Happ posterized a poor Panther defender late in the first half, while Iverson's third dunk of the night was a two-handed baseline punctuation mark with just over two minutes remaining.

Showalter was a bright spot offensively for Wisconsin, posting a career high with 11 points in the first 20 minutes alone to keep UW's head above water. The redshirt junior finished with 14 points, matching Bronson Koenig's three treys with three of his own.

Wisconsin also got good production from its bench finally. Charlie Thomas scored all 12 of his points in the second half and combined with Iverson for 21 points. Koenig led the Badgers with 16 points.

Tension mounted in the first few minutes after the break as the Panthers answered the first few Badger salvos and pulled within two points with under 17 minutes left to play. Yet the barrage of foul calls detracted from the flow of the game and worked in the more physical Badgers' favor. Wisconsin appears to still be adjusting to some of the new officiating points of emphasis, evidenced by the alternating touch fouls and wide open perimeter shots allowed.

Hayes had another tough shooting night before working his way inside late in the game. He finished 3-of-11 from the field for 10 points, joining five other Badgers in double figures. Happ finished two rebounds shy of his third straight double-double.

Wisconsin will enjoy a short Thanksgiving break, but get right back to the court to prep for a tough road trip this weekend. The Badgers first head to No. 7 Oklahoma on Sunday, followed by a visit to Syracuse next Wednesday.