Opening up what will be no doubt be an all-time week of basketball at the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas, the Badgers (3-1) tipped off against the Texas A&M Aggies (4-0).

After falling in the finals of the 2016 Maui Invite, the Badgers are looking to renew their history of success this year. With pageantry galore, the tipoff was quantified with several hula dancers and the mayor of Maui. But once the ball hit the ground, it was all business.

Men’s Basketball: Badgers prepare for early season tests at Maui InvitationalAfter a disappointing stretch for the Big Ten going 2-6 against the Big East in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, it Read…

First half

Badgers got a few good looks at the beginning of the half but overall struggled with the hot shooting of Texas A&M to the clip of 80% from the field. After a scorching hot start, both teams went back and forth with A&M maintaining a ten-point lead down the stretch.

Wisconsin took their time grinding it into the paint, shooting their way to a ten-nothing run-to-end in the last minute of the half. Combined with the cooling-off of A&Ms shooting and some foul problems for the Aggies, the Badgers were up by one going into the second slate.

Second half

Wisconsin tipped off the second half with a tentative lead — a lead that would require better shooting than they had seen in the first part of the game to maintain.

Both teams began to settle into the mix of strong guard posts by Wisconsin and offensive fouls on the part of A&M, which created a physical and strenuous opening to the second half. Wisconsin began to widen their lead by using hot shooting and a powerful defensive presence.

The game made clear that there was a battle of two styles — the run and gun of the Aggies against the post-touch grind of the Badgers. Much like the individual coaches, this deadpan versus passion approach shone through as the Badgers continually and calmly fed the post.

With production coming from all over the court, the Badgers continued to extend their lead. This extension was partially due to the hot shooting of the Badgers but also their ability to limit turnovers.

Greg Gard continued to go deep, getting good minutes from nearly every man he put on the floor — a factor that no doubt contributed to their preserved lead. Despite some back and forth, the Aggies kept it close down the stretch, dolloping on the press for the last three minutes.

Even with this pressure, the Badgers kept their cool by taking their time and picking through the press. It was this calm demeanor that gave the Badger the final 69-58 victory.

The Badgers will play No. 12 Houston Tuesday for their next match in the invitational.

Men’s Basketball: Badgers face big question with one roster spot for 2022While a lot attention is focused around the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team’s first few games of the season, Read…

Quotes from the game

“I think your defense against Wisconsin has to be better in the last 10 seconds than the first 20 seconds,” Buzz Williams said.

“They change shots and then you think, regardless of your size, hey, I’m blocking out and I’m about to get the ball, and then as you’re about to get the ball here comes a deflection,” Williams said. “Here comes a tip.”

“They understood that we needed to do some things offensively better that was going to help our defense and fortunately they were able to catch themselves and get things corrected and start scratching our way back,” Gard said.