With 14:40 minutes remaining in the first half, Loyola University Chicago led the No. 12 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team 7-0. Wisconsin was 0-7 from the field to open the game, and it looked like the contest could be an ugly grind.
Brad Davison’s three-pointer to finally open the scoring nearly five and a half minutes into the contest didn’t just take the lid off the rim, but also foreshadowed a balanced barrage from three for the Badgers.
Davison’s shot was sandwiched by two key blocks by none other than Tyler Wahl. Wisconsin’s sophomore sixth man continued to provide a much needed spark off the bench. He may not always look to score and fill up the stat sheet, but his energy and intensity is unmatched. Wisconsin followed these key plays with a 17-3 run to go up 17-10.
Davison’s shot also sparked a stellar night for the senior from Maple Grove, Minnesota. He would join backcourt buddy D’Mitrik Trice with a team-high 17 points. Wisconsin’s guard play dominated the game as the impressive freshman Jonathan Davis poured in 12 points off the bench and senior Trevor Anderson added five points of his own. The four Badger guards would combine to shoot 5-8 from deep.
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Loyola was right to focus their defensive efforts inside to stifle Wisconsin’s front court duo of Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers. The strategy paid off, disrupting entry passes into the lane, forcing tough shots inside and pushing Potter and Reuvers to the perimeter.
Fortunately for the Badgers, Potter and Reuvers joined the guards in the onslaught from deep, matching their five threes-pointers with five of their own. Potter’s 13 points strictly came from three three-pointers and foul shots while six of Reuvers’ eight points came on two three-pointers.
The Badgers were lucky to lead the Ramblers at half by a count of 31-26 on 30% shooting. But their methodical pace took another victim on Tuesday night, as they held the Ramblers to an equally dismal 30% shooting mark in the first half.
To follow their 17-3 run in the first half, the Badgers’ 17-2 run early in the second half to take a 52-36 would prove insurmountable. The Ramblers stayed in the fight, momentarily closing the gaps with brief stints, but could never claw closer than nine points.
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Loyola’s two remaining players from their magical final four run in 2018, senior guard Lucas Williamson and senior center Cameron Krutwig, got theirs with admirable efforts. The senior duo combined for 34 points on 12-22 shooting, but their performances weren’t contagious. The most the Ramblers got out of a third scorer was six points.
For Loyola, the tough road contest provides a healthy tune-up going into conference play where head coach Porter Moser should enjoy a successful season at or near the top of the Missouri Valley once again.
As for the Badgers, Loyola marks a continued stretch of tough opponents after Marquette and Rhode Island and ahead of Louisville. A prestigious program, Louisville will be the Badgers’ first ranked opponent of the young season by virtue of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Wisconsin vs. Louisville was one of three contests in the challenge to be postponed, and now it’s the first to be rescheduled so soon. The Big Ten currently leads 6-5 over the Acc and Wisconsin will look to add another tally in the Big Ten’s favor Saturday at 11 am against the Cardinals at the Kohl Center.