The No. 9 University of Wisconsin (11-3, 5-2 Big Ten) men’s basketball team got back on track with their win against Rutgers (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten). The Badgers outlasted the Scarlet Knights 60-54 and improved to 3-0 in games following a loss this season.
In what turned out to be a defensive battle all the way through, the late-game offense from D’Mitrik Trice propelled the Badgers to a victory.
After being quiet all game, Trice sank two dagger threes as well as a layup on a strong drive to the basket late in the second half. Trice’s personal 8-0 run helped push the Badgers lead up to 54-44 with just 4:23 left to play in the game.
No one else on the Badgers scored a field goal in the final 7:58 minutes of the game. It was not until 20 seconds remaining in the game someone besides Trice scored points for the team when Micah Potter sank two free throws to help ice the game away. Trice finished the night with 13 points, five assists and four rebounds.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Badgers did a phenomenal job of jumping passing lanes, resulting in 10 steals. The Badgers were also tough in the interior, protecting the paint as they finished with nine blocks on the night. The stingy defense kept Rutgers to just 54 points on the game — a team who averages scoring 73.9 points per game.
The difference in the game was the Badger’s ability to consistently get to the free-throw line all night long. Wisconsin shot 16 for 21 on their free throws while Rutgers made just two of their seven attempts from the line. An impressive 14-point swing in the Badgers’ favor from the free-throw line alone.
The Badgers will now have some time off before returning to action against Northwestern (6-6; 3-5). Despite their record and sitting at tenth place in the Big Ten standings, Northwestern is no lightweight.
They took down No. 4 Michigan State (at the time) and started Big Ten play undefeated through three games. Since then, the Wildcats have faltered on a five-game losing streak against top-25 Big Ten opponents.
Wisconsin will be back home at the Kohl Center for their game against Northwestern after splitting the difference in their two-game road trip. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. against the Wildcats.