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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Three quick takeaways vs Liberty

The Badgers advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT with a huge win against Liberty.

Survive and advance.

That’s exactly what the Badgers did on Sunday afternoon.

Despite connecting on just 1 three-pointer, the Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Liberty Flames 75-71 at the Kohl Center, and have advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT.

By no means was the game a walk in the park for the Badgers. Liberty’s Darius McGhee finished with 31 points on 10/25 shooting, and he was the most dominant player on the floor throughout the game.

The Badgers struggled to stop McGhee, but through an impressive final minute, the Badgers found a way to come out on top, winning back-to-back games for the first time since January 3rd.

Here are the quick takeaways from Sunday’s game:

Chucky Hepburn

Wisconsin’s Chucky Hepburn finished with 27 points on 9/20 shooting as he put together his best performance of the season.

The Badgers yet again jumped off to a quick start offensively, scoring 37 points in the first half behind Hepburn’s 19 and Crowl’s 14 points.

Although Hepburn went 0-6 on three-pointers, he was incredible when scoring in the paint.

Hepburn struggled to score in his last 2 games, with just 9 points between his last 2 appearances. But he made up for it with an incredible performance, leading the Badgers to another NIT win.

In postseason tournaments, guard play is one of the most important keys to success, so big games from Hepburn will be crucial if the Badgers want to continue winning.

Free throws

The Badgers again shot the ball extremely well at the free-throw line on Sunday. This season, the Badgers shot 68% as a team from the line, good for 11th best in the Big Ten.

However, they went 20-24 from the free throw line on Sunday, which was 83.3%.

They outscored the Flames 20-11 at the line which ultimately made a massive difference in the end result.

Wahl, typically a 62% free throw shooter was excellent. He finished 6-7 from the free throw line and looked composed throughout the game.

Hepburn went 9-11 from the line in a fantastic game from the sophomore guard.

And Max Klesmit nailed his 2 free throws with 6 seconds remaining to ice the game and send the Badgers to the quarterfinals.

Make that back-to-back games where the Badgers have knocked down their free throws consistently.

Strong finish

Prior to this game, the Badgers were involved in 18 games of 5 or fewer points, and recently they struggled to find ways to close out games.

However, that wasn’t the case today.

Trailing 61-54 with 10 minutes remaining, the Badgers wound up going on a 21-10 run to win the game.

The team was clutch from the free-throw line, and they played excellent defense in the final minutes.

Liberty converted just 3 shot attempts in the final 10 minutes due to the Badgers stifling defense.

When it mattered most, the Badgers found a way to dig deep and grit out a huge win.