Coming off a huge win against Michigan State, Wisconsin (11-9, 3-4) continued its strong play on Thursday night against Penn State, winning 66-60.

When freshman Alex Illikainen entered the first half with 18:04 remaining, the Badgers trailed for the first and only time all game at 3-0. Wisconsin went on an 11-0 run over almost five minutes, sparked by Ethan Happ and Illikainen, who had 10 points and 9 points respectively in the first half. The Nittany Lions had 9 turnovers and put the Badgers in the bonus at the 9:08 mark in the first 20 minutes. Still, despite only shooting 42.3% and Nigel Hayes going 2-9, Wisconsin’s defense only allowed 18 Penn State points in the half on 31.3% shooting.

It was the freshmen Happ and Illikainen who led this game for Wisconsin, with Hayes closing it out down the stretch. Happ had a career-high 20 points with 11 rebounds, while Illikainen added 9 points (all in the first half) and 7 rebounds.

Hayes, who had 15 points and 5 assists, as well as Bronson Koenig contributed with excellent defensive games. Hayes guarded Penn State’s leading scorer Brandon Taylor, and limited him to 13 points (averaging 16.4 entering the game). Koenig was tasked with defending Penn State’s second-leading scorer, Shep Garner, and held him to 10 points on 2-7 shooting. Still, it was a team effort tonight, as Penn State only shot 39.5% and turned it over 13 times.

Zak Showalter, who missed practice time with an ankle injury leading up to this game, started. He only played five minutes in the first half due to two fouls, but still went 27 minutes. 

Wisconsin will take on #25 Indiana at home on Tuesday night at 6:00 PM, which will be a Big Ten showdown.