After a tightly contested first half in Maui on Tuesday night, the Badgers dominated Georgetown in the second half to earn a 73-57 win and a berth to the Maui Invitational finals.
Ethan Happ had 19 points and added 15 rebounds, tying his career-high on the boards, and Bronson Koenig added 20 points. The Badgers had another balanced effort with role players contributing in many ways.
The biggest difference in the game came from rebounding, a statistic that heavily favored the Badgers. Wisconsin had 50 rebounds to Georgetown’s 20. The Badgers had 19 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds.
The Badgers maintained a lead over the Hoyas for a majority of the first half, although the Badgers largest lead was only seven points in the first 20 minutes. Georgetown battled from behind with major contributions from their two leading scorers Rodney Pryor and L.J Peak, who combined to score 19 of the team’s 29 first half points. Pryor’s three threes kept the Hoyas close after the Badgers ran out to the early seven point lead.
Bronson Koenig was the main source of offense for the Badgers in the first half, scoring 14 points on 10 shots. Ethan Happ had a busy first half with seven points and 11 rebounds. Happ and Zak Showalter displayed a pretty two-man game with each having flashy assists to one another. The Koenig and Happ duo scored the Badgers first 15 points of the matchup.
Despite the Badgers efficient effort from the field in the first half, they were unable to separate from the Hoyas because of turnover issues, mostly unforced. The Badgers had eight turnovers at the break, doubling up on Georgetown’s four.
After the break, the Badgers imposed their will on the Hoyas.
Ethan Happ went on a 7-0 by himself to start the half, including a steal from Georgetown’s Akoy Agau and went coast-to-coast and slammed it home.
Continued contributions from Happ and Koenig were key in the second half, but coach Gard also recieved improved bench play. Alex Illikainen had a couple timely offensive rebounds when Georgetown switched to a zone, and Khalil Iverson had a powerful put back jam off of an Illikainen miss, giving the Badgers a 48-36 lead and forcing a timeout from Georgetown coach John Thompson III. Iverson had all 10 of his points in the second half, including a few highlight reel dunks and a block.
The Badgers continued to methodically beat Georgetown, with the lead growing to 18 points after a Vitto Brown three. Vitto Brown only hit three shots, but all three were timely and from beyond the arch. The Badgers did a much better job taking care of the ball as the lead grew, only turning it over four times in the second half.
The Badgers outscored the Hoyas 41-28 in the final half.
Georgetown’s Jessie Govan only came into Tuesday night’s game averaging 13.0 PPG and 6.3 RPG. Govan finished the game with three points, zero rebounds, and three fouls. L.J. Peak led the Hoyas in scoring with 18 points. The Badgers neutralized Pryor after his 14 first half points, only scoring three after the break. Wisconsin also held Isaac Copeland scoreless, with many thanks to Nigel Hayes’s defense.
The Badgers move on to the Maui Invitational Championship game and will play against the winner of North Carolina/Oklahoma State on Wednesday night at 8:30pm CT.