The No. 9 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team took care of business against Chicago State University at home Thursday in an effort that was anything but business as usual.

Senior leader Nigel Hayes went 1-8 from the floor and finished with three points behind an 11 point, 5-7 field goal percentage from sophomore Kahlil Iverson.

The beginning of the first half started slow, but freshman standout D’Mitrik Trice and the Badgers put up a 17-3 run and take an early 19-11 lead. As far as the score, it wouldn’t only get better for UW going forward as the bench racked up a massive 36 points on the game in the 18 point win.

Iverson brought the ship home to port for the Badgers in the second half, recording four dunks down the stretch and creating enough of a buffer to close out the home win. Head coach Greg Gard said in the post game press conference that he was pleased with the improvements from Tuesday’s loss, but stressed the need to cut down on turnovers going forward.

While the victory Thursday was needed just to get another win in the win column, the matchup served more as a chance for Wisconsin to prove to itself that it can return to a top 10 level after a disheartening defeat at Creighton University earlier this week. The Badgers will now look to stay on the winning end of things as they travel to the Maui Invitational next week for a matchup with Tennessee University Monday.

Men’s basketball: Bench play sparks No. 9 Wisconsin to victory over Chicago StateThe beginnings of Thursday night’s game against Chicago State University and the effort against Creighton Tuesday night were all too Read…

Wisconsin offensive player of the game: Kahlil Iverson

Iverson’s performance can’t be more overstated when you talk about the depth of this Wisconsin team. The sophomore guard’s second half impact speak volumes to how far Gard can reach into his bench for points when the rest of the team is tired.

Iverson also serves as an enormous spark plug for a team that, despite plenty of experience, has very few exciting players. The athletic youngster scores most of his points in the forms of dunks and those dunks are normally what excites the team most and ends up on the highlight reels. Iverson’s display of offense on Thursday will help the team in more ways than one as they move into a brutal non-conference schedule.

Wisconsin defensive player of the game: Charlie Thomas IV

Iverson’s roommate and best friend, Charlie Thomas, also made a name for himself against Chicago State, recording a team-high seven rebounds and a dominant display on the defensive end. Opposing coaches and players have been blown away from Thomas’ size on the inside this season and his extra confidence this season should provide a huge presence on the blocks.

Thomas was pretty limited last season after the coaching switch to Gard early on, but has reamerged in the lineup over the last few games. The center’s 15 minutes of action Thursday was limited, but felt as Chicago State only 10 points in the paint and were very limited around Thomas. With Thomas more aggressive down low, Ethan Happ and Hayes should have more room to work and will know they have a safety blanket on the boards if they put up a bad shot.

Chicago State player of the game: Fred Sims Jr

There weren’t many bright spots for Chicago State in Madison, but Fred Sims Jr. and his team high 26 points and six threes were enough to give the Cougars something to be proud of. Sims was definitely the team leader out on the floor, controlling possession and scoring more than half his team’s points.

Wisconsin now travels to Maui at will face Tennessee Monday at 1:30 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN2.