Sconnie Sports Talk

Badgers put on three-point clinic in win over Nebraska, 72-61


Madison, WI — Wisconsin made it six in a row with another big three-point shooting night, defeating Nebraska 72-61.

The Badgers didn’t have a pretty first half, except for their outside shooting. Wisconsin was 4-6 from deep against Nebraska’s 2-3 zone in the first 20 minutes, which was the difference maker in what was otherwise a slow start for Wisconsin.. Nebraska started using the zone last game against Rutgers when second-leading scorer Shavon Shields went out with a head injury.

During the first half, the Badgers got production from Vitto Brown and Nigel Hayes, who combined for 22 of Wisconsin’s first 30 points. Nebraska hung tough in the first half with a 9-0 run to go up 13-7 with 12 minutes left in the first half. That’s when Brown knocked down a bucket to end the drought, and then a few minutes later, tied the game back up with his second three of the game.

In the second half, the Badgers replicated their great shooting, and then some. The Badgers opened up the last 20 minutes hitting four straight three’s, including Bronson Koenig hitting back-to-back deep triples, opening the lead up 42-32.

With Shields out for Nebraska, the Huskers just couldn’t garner enough offense to keep up with Wisconsin’s perimeter brigade. The Badgers also did a great job defending Nebraska’s leading scorer Andrew White, holding him to 10 points. Glynn Watson Jr. was Nebraska’s lead man on the offensive end all night, scoring 16 points.

Vitto Brown set his new-career high on an emphatic dunk (below), and was in on the three-point shootout going 3-3 from deep.

“We go 5-16 on layups and they go 11-18 on threes,” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said after the game. “When you shoot threes better than the other team shoots layups, they’re going to win.”

Miles said their main goal was to keep the ball out of Koenig’s hands after high post touches and the next man up was Vitto Brown, and he said directly about Brown: “He made us pay.”

All of the starters, with the exception of Ethan Happ, were in double figures. Hayes led the team with 20 points, Brown tallied 18, Koenig had 12, and Showalter poured in 10. Happ played just 17 minutes on an uncharacteristically rough night, going just 0-3 from the field, but he did tie the team lead for assists with 3 and collected a steal for the 17th straight game. Thankfully, Alex Illkanien stepped up for Happ and played some important minutes in the second half.

Wisconsin interim head coach Greg Gard applauded his team’s offensive effort, “I thought we did a good job tonight of touching the post and playing inside out.”

Next up, the Badgers have a rematch with Maryland on Saturday at 5:30 PM on ESPN. Maryland beat Wisconsin in the Kohl Center on Melo Trimble’s buzzer-beating three on February 2.

As Gard said of the matchup, “We know what’s coming.”