In the win, the Badgers struggled with their efficiency, shooting just 42.6 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from the three, while averaging 0.984 points per possession on the day.
Defensively, the Badgers allowed the Gophers to shoot 41.7 percent from three, including 70 percent from deep in the second half, although Minnesota wasn’t very efficient from the field either, averaging 0.922 points per possession.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers’ 61-59 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Close game victory
Prior to Tuesday’s win, the Badgers had beaten each of their opponents by a minimum of eight points, showcasing a level of separation in each of their victories.
Tuesday showcased that the Badgers could pull out the ugly ones too, which we haven’t seen much of early in the season, as the Badgers lost their last “close” game in an 87-83 loss to Penn State.
It wasn’t pretty for sure, as Wisconsin held a 10-point lead at half and were up as much as 15 at one point, but the Badgers pulled through in the clutch, getting multiple defensive stops, while A.J. Storr got to the free throw line for the go-ahead points.
The Badgers snapped their streak of five consecutive games averaging at least 1.2 points per possession, scoring just 61 points, which was their second-lowest total of the game behind their loss to Providence.
But, what mattered was that they were able to pull out of the ugly game with a victory, beating their rivals in the Border Battle.
Both teams averaged over 40 percent from three on the night, as Wisconsin shot 41.2 percent from deep, while Minnesota shot 41.7 percent.
However, their paths to achieving those numbers were different; Wisconsin hit 50 percent of their threes in the first half before significantly struggling in the second half, shooting just 28.6 percent from three.
As for the Gophers, they went 3/14 in the first half from distance, but hit each of their first six threes, while finishing the second half shooting 70 percent from distance.
The Badgers had good enough defense to hold Minnesota to 59 points on the night, but there were inherent struggles with their three-point defense in the second half that allowed Minnesota to claw back, as well as some tough buckets.
The Gophers came in as one of the streakier teams in the conference, shooting 33 percent from three, but clearly possessing the talent to hit on a good night. That came to fruition Tuesday as four different players had multiple threes.
Tyler Wahl was the star of the show on Tuesday, scoring a team-high 16 points on 6/7 shooting, while making a number of tough shots around the rim.
It was an all-around game for the forward, who had 16 points, four assists, three blocks, and a steal in 33 minutes of action.
Wahl, a Minnesota native, may have played his final game against the Gophers in the Williams Arena, and he went out in stride.
Additionally, Nolan Winter had some learning moments, but also good stretches as he came off the bench for Wisconsin. Winter was a +5 in 11 minutes of action, which was the third-highest mark on the team, and hit a three-pointer on a catch-and-shoot.
The Badgers have been a pipeline for Minnesota talent in recent years, and both of their guys got a chance to show their talents in their home state on Tuesday.