Just days after having their showdown in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the No. 13 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (4-1, 0-0 Big Ten) notched a comfortable win Wednesday night against the Rhode Island Rams (3-3, 0-0 Atlantic Ten).
Unlike their Big Ten counterparts, the Badgers were not able to compete in this season’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Wisconsin’s initial opponent Louisville paused all team activities Dec. 3 due to a positive test within the program.
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The Badgers moved quickly after the cancellation, scheduling Wednesday’s game against the Rams — a high-quality opponent despite their record, as the Rams have faced challenging matchups in Boston College and No. 23 Arizona State.
Wisconsin started on a tear and erased all memory of Friday’s heartbreaking loss to arch-rival Marquette. Senior guard Brad Davison set the tone early — burying three triples to start the game. Davison’s offensive outburst propelled the Badgers to an early 10–2 lead, and his 17 first-half points outscored the entire Rams team (16).
The Badgers’ stifling defense held the Rams to 7-for-27 shooting in the first half and Wisconsin led 33–16 at the break.
The Rams started a furious comeback late in the second half. After a Jeremy Sheppard 3-pointer with 5:17 to go, a 22-point Badger lead dwindled to just nine. Though Wisconsin did a solid job limiting star guard Fatts Russell to 3-for-14 shooting, Sheppard shined — scoring 13 points on only eight shots.
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Sheppard’s hot shooting was not enough for the Rams as Wisconsin sunk free throws late to seal the victory. Davison was particularly impressive from the foul line, shooting a perfect 12-for-12 from the stripe.
Fouls were a big story in Wednesday night’s game. The two teams combined for 48 fouls and the teams shot a combined total of 61 free throws. Wisconsin converted at the line, shooting 26-for-36.
Wednesday night was also a milestone game for Wisconsin senior forward Nathan Reuvers. Reuvers’ blocked shot on Russell’s drive with 9:30 left in the first half was his 155th, surpassing former Wisconsin All-American Ethan Happ for the most in school history. Reuvers finished with three rejections Wednesday night.
Wednesday was a nice rebound for the Badgers following their surprising loss against Marquette. Wisconsin is back in action next Wednesday in a home game against Northern Iowa.