The Big Ten proved itself once again to be one of the most brutal conferences to play in from top to bottom on Monday night.
The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team, currently No. 12 in the nation, welcomed in the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to the Kohl Center. The Scarlet Knights kept it close throughout the duration of the game, but the Badgers came out victorious in the end, 69–64.
The Badgers got off to a lackadaisical start on defense allowing Rutgers to shoot 62.5 percent from the field (10-16 FG’s) through the first 12 minutes of the game. Rutgers led by as many as 10 points in the first half, and their offensive surge was led by Geo Baker who tallied nine points before heading to the bench with two fouls.
The Badger opened up the second half with a 13–4 scoring run to give them a 39–35 lead with a little more than 15 minutes left in the game. The offensive spark was thanks to Khalil Iverson, who scored the first four points of the half, including a steal that he took coast to coast for a transition layup.
Wisconsin never gave up the lead once they went ahead, but Rutgers never went away either, making it a battle all the way till the end. Wisconsin’s defense tightened up in the second half as they forced eight missed shots from Baker while holding him to just six points. Baker finished with 15 points while shooting 35.3 percent from the field.
“They made some timely shots and we didn’t,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said.
The most timely shot of them all came from who else but D’Mirtik Trice. Trice came around the screen on a dribble pull up from deep with 56 seconds left in the game to extend the Badgers lead to 65–57. Trice finished with 14 points while shooting six for nine from the field.
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Domination from within the post was the theme in tonight’s matchup, as the two teams combined for 74 points in the paint.
Ethan Happ dropped in 20 points for the Badgers, all of which came from the low post. Nate Reuvers was a very nice compliment to Ethan Happ as he added 10 points to the box score, including a huge three-pointer on the dish from Happ in the post. On the flip side of the ball, Eugene Omoruyi poured in 17 points, 14 of which came within the painted area.
The Badgers will have tomorrow off before they start preparations for an in-state rivalry game against the Marquette Golden Eagles Saturday.