The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (1-0) returned to the hardwood for their season opener against the Eastern Illinois Panthers (0-1) Wednesday night.
Wisconsin came out sporting the black “W” crest on their jerseys as a show of solidarity and commitment to the inclusion of BIPOC students in the fight for social justice.
Wisconsin put their new logo on full display by wearing all-black long sleeve warmup jerseys which featured the black “W” crest on the front and the word “UNITY” written in all caps across the back.
Despite being the first game of the season, the Badgers seemed to have picked up right where they left off last season by earning a 10-point victory over the Panthers with a score of 77–67.
The Badgers moved the ball well as a team, resulting in 16 assists along with an evenly distributed number of shots. No player took more than 10 shots in the game, and Nate Reuvers led the way for Wisconsin with 18 points, going 6-for-10 from the floor. Reuvers also added nine rebounds.
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With such a dynamic lineup of veterans, it was actually the freshman who stole the show for Wisconsin, especially in the first half. Ben Carlson played some strong minutes in the first half, putting up eight points early.
Carlson finished with 13 points in the game while shooting 80% from the field. Freshman Johnny Davis thrived, scoring eight points off the bench while earning his first points ever as a Badger with a soft touch on a baseline floater early in the game.
Eastern Illinois put up a relentless fight throughout the game, which is part of the reason why they pulled within 10 points by the end. The Panthers had no shortage of veteran leadership themselves as they played seven seniors in the game.
The Panthers were even missing an eighth senior, guard and Madison native Deang Deang, who was out from the lineup tonight still recovering from a leg injury suffered last season.
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Senior Josiah Wallace led all scorers with 22 points for the Panthers on 9-for-16 shooting. Despite the strong push in the second half, the Badgers proved to be too much to handle for the Panthers as they failed to erase a 27-point deficit.
Next game up for the Badgers will be Friday night at 8 p.m. back on the Big Ten Network. The quick turnaround only gives the Badgers one day’s rest before returning to action to take on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.