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Wisconsin basketball cruises to the second round of the NIT

The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Bradley Braves in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night.

The Badgers are advancing to the second round of the NIT.

In front of a small crowd, the Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Bradley Braves 81-62 at the Kohl Center on Tuesday night.

After failing to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers accepted their offer to play in the NIT.

They were granted the 2-seed, and the tournament began with a home win against the Braves.

The Badgers jumped off to a solid start by attacking the paint and going to both Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl early inside.

After 5 minutes, the Badgers held an 11-8 lead.

Carter Gilmore then came off the bench for Wisconsin and provided quality minutes, scoring 3 points and grabbing 3 rebounds.

He helped push the Badgers to an 18-11 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the half.

Next, big points from Jordan Davis and a three from Crowl helped push the Badgers to a 26-13 lead.

The Braves then put together a run for themselves, going on a 7-0 scoring run and bringing the game to 26-20.

The game went back and forth for the remainder of the half, with the Badgers holding on to a 40-35 halftime lead.

Steven Crowl led all scorers with 19 points and 6 rebounds in just the first half.

In the second half, Crowl continued his dominant performance while leading the Badgers offensively.

The Badgers went up 58-44 with 13:15 remaining, but then went on yet another scoring drought allowing the Braves to climb back into the game.

It was not until the 8:23 mark that Wisconsin was able to put points back on the board as Tyler Wahl went 1 of 2 from the line, making it a 59-49 game.

On the next possession, Crowl aggressively scored a slam dunk while being fouled, putting the Badgers up 61-49.

With just under 6 minutes remaining, Essegian hit a corner three to extend the lead to 15, the biggest lead of the game for the Badgers at that point.

From there, the Badgers continued to pour on points en route to an 81-62 win.

Steven Crowl finished with 36 points and 9 rebounds while shooting 5-7 from three.

Crowl had by far his best game of the season, continuing what proved to be a successful junior season.

Max Klesmit piled on 16 points and Connor Essegian scored 14 points as well.

The Badgers had no issues scoring tonight, as 81 points were the second-most points scored all season for the team.

One of the noticeable differences from the regular season was the 82% free-throw shooting for the Badgers. They went 23-28 from the line.

The Badgers also did a great job of limiting turnovers with just 3 total turnovers.

Now, Wisconsin has a challenging second-round game against the Liberty Flames (27-8). Liberty defeated the Villanova Wildcats 62-57 in their first-round matchup.

This game will take place on Sunday, March 19 at the Kohl Center.

If the Badgers continue to play at this level, they should have the ability to put together quite the postseason run in the NIT.