After a competitive first half that saw the Badgers holding a narrow 43–41 lead, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (6-5, 1-1 Big Ten) took control in the second half, outscoring UW-Milwaukee (5-7, 0-0 Horizon) 40–23 en route to an 83–64 victory Saturday night.
Junior D’Mitrik Trice shouldered the load in the victory, scoring 31 points and knocking down five shots from beyond the arc. Trice got things going early, scoring eight of the Badgers’ first nine points. Trice’s breakout game is a good sign for Badger fans. The three-year starter has struggled in the 2019-20 campaign, averaging 7.7 points per game on 34% shooting.
Holding a seven-point lead with 11 minutes to go, Trice calmly extended the lead to double digits after a smooth left-wing three-pointer. Following Trice’s triple, Wisconsin’s lead never dropped below single digits.
While Trice’s play was the story of the game, the spotlight was centered around junior forward Micah Potter.
Potter — a transfer from Ohio State University — saw his first action in a Wisconsin uniform after being deemed ineligible by the NCAA’s controversial transfer policy. Since Potter hadn’t spent a full year at Wisconsin, the organization ruled Potter ineligible until Friday’s game.
Potter proved to be a spark off the bench in the Badgers’ victory. In only 13 minutes, Potter scored 12 points including a long-awaited rim-rocking jam late in the first half that brought the 17,030 fans at the Kohl Center to their feet.
Additionally, junior forward Nate Reuvers continued his stellar play on the season, adding 22 points and three blocks. Reuvers has been a force all year for the Badgers, averaging 14.2 points per game, almost doubling his scoring total from last season.
Milwaukee showed a lot of fight in the loss, playing the Badgers close for 30 minutes. Darius Roy added 25 points for the Panthers. After a 5-2 start, Milwaukee has struggled as of late, losing five consecutive games. It should be noted that the Panthers have played some tough competition, taking on Wisconsin and top-ranked Kansas on the road.
The Badgers hope to continue this momentum before conference play picks up. If the team hopes to get their season back on track, it is critical for Reuvers, Trice and Potter to continue to perform.
Up next, Wisconsin travels to Knoxville for a pivotal road game against No. 21 Tennessee next Saturday, Dec. 28.