In their tour Down Under, the Badgers men’s basketball team took on New Zealand’s Sky City Breakers on August 15. Behind a sterling performance from junior Brevin Pritzl, Wisconsin topped their foreign competition 85-75 in their first game of the tour.
After losing four starters to graduation, the Badgers will be using this tour to rebuild the team’s chemistry as well as discover which lineup combinations are the most efficient. Head coach Greg Gard decided to open the game with sophomore D’Mitrik Trice, Pritzl, junior Khalil Iverson, junior Alex Illikainen and redshirt junior Ethan Happ.
The New Zealand squad held the lead in a close-fought game for much of the first half, but the Badgers came into the locker room with a 44-42 lead at the midway point. The Breakers kept the game close throughout the third quarter, even regaining the lead at one point, but a late 12-0 run from the Badgers put away Sky City for good.
Pritzl, the Badgers’ best pure shooter, put his marksmanship on full display throughout the game, knocking down 7/9 from three-point range en route to 28 points. Happ demonstrated why he is one of the most well-rounded centers in college basketball by notching 17 points and 11 boards along with three assists and four steals. Freshman Brad Davison had an impact coming off the bench, scoring 13 points while adding two assists and three steals.
The collective effort of the Badgers was impressive, as the defense notched 14 steals while limiting their offensive turnovers to just 11. Additionally, Wisconsin shot 15-for-18 from the free throw line, an encouraging sign considering their frequent struggles from the charity stripe last year.
The Badgers will look to continue their strong play when they take on the Breakers again on Thursday, August 17th at 6:30pm local time (1:30am CDT).
Statistics courtesy of uwbadgers.com.