The No. 10 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (12-3, 6-2 Big Ten) returned to action Wednesday night against Northwestern University (6-7, 3-7 Big Ten), a team that has struggled mightily since winning three consecutive games to start Big Ten play.
The Badgers relied on balanced scoring and consistent, tough defense en route to their sixth conference victory. Four Badgers scored double figures and Wisconsin held Northwestern to only 18 points in the second half, securing a comfortable 68-52 victory.
Sophomore forward Tyler Wahl shined in his second consecutive start. Wahl has flourished in his new starting role and recently replaced senior forward and fellow Lakeville North High School alum Nathan Reuvers in the starting lineup. Wahl led Wisconsin’s offensive attack with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
Wahl knocked down two more three-pointers in last night’s matchup, continuing his hot shooting stretch from deep. Over his last four games, Wahl has gone 5-for-6 from the three-point line. Wahl’s touch and continuous energy have provided Wisconsin with a major spark since entering the starting lineup.
Another underclassman who gave the Badgers a lift was true freshman guard Jonathan Davis. Davis, the athletic freshman, scored all eight of his points in the first half and displayed his athleticism with a ferocious slam that gave the Badgers a 31-20 lead.
While Davis’ play gave Wisconsin a boost, the Wildcats crept back in the game and only trailed by seven at the half.
Wisconsin came out sluggish in the second half, and the Wildcats even cut the once double-digit Badgers lead to five with 14:59 to go. A key sequence was a Reuvers rejection on a Robbie Beran-attempted dunk. Reuvers blocked Beran from behind, and one minute later a Wahl triple extended the lead to eight.
Back-to-back layups from Trevor Anderson pushed the lead to double-digits and Wisconsin never looked back. The Badgers pushed their lead to as large as 21 and cruised to a 16-point victory.
Wisconsin looks to build off this momentum after consecutive wins in conference play. The Badgers have a big home game this Saturday as No.15 Ohio State comes to Madison. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. Jan. 23.