MADISON – Wisconsin outscored Minnesota 14-4 in overtime to notch their eighth straight win over Minnesota, 73-63. The win is the Badgers second straight, and it improves Wisconsin’s record to 13-16, 6-10 in the Big Ten.
Down three points with 13 seconds remaining in regulation, Khalil Iverson went to the free throw line in a one-and-one situation. Iverson made the first and missed the second, with the Badgers grabbing the offensive rebound.
Gard called a timeout with nine seconds left and the Badgers down two. The Badgers went straight to their star, Ethan Happ, who delivered with a post-spin lay-in to tie it up on just his second bucket of the game, 59-59. The Badgers pulled off an 8-1 run over the final moments to send the game into overtime. The Gophers didn’t have a field goal for the final 5:57 of the game.
Gard said of Happ’s bucket: “He wanted it, so we called the play that goes to him.”
The Badgers’ tough defense continued into overtime, where they forced the Gophers into a shot clock violation on their first possession. Pritzl hit his fifth three-pointer of the game to get the Kohl Center on its feet. Moments later, Pritzl hit his sixth three-pointer to give the Badgers a 67-61 lead, a lead the Badgers wouldn’t give up.
“To get into overtime was just sticking together,” Happ said. “Overtime was basically just Brevin knocking down threes.”
Pritzl led the Badgers with 20 points and six three-pointers. Davison added 19 with 14 coming in the first half. Happ finished with 10 points, five assists and two blocks. Jordan Murphy dominated the second half on his way to 16 points and 11 rebounds but didn’t receive much help from anyone else on the Minnesota roster.
“Murphy was a handful for Reuvers,” head coach Greg Gard said. “An experienced player versus a freshman.”
“Coach Gard tells me to be confident in my shot and Ethan’s always telling me to shoot the ball more,” Pritzl said. “I just did my job.”
Davison, a Minnesota native, was on fire against his old state’s team at the start. The freshman started out the game saving an errant pass from Ethan Happ that was going out of bounds, and calmly turned around and hit a deep three as the shot clock expired. Davison was fouled on another three and hit two more in the opening minutes, scoring 11 of the Badgers first 13 points.
The Badgers crashed on every Jordan Murphy post touch, determined to make someone else beat them. Murphy only had six points in the first half. The Minnesota forward went through Happ and Reuvers for his first two on tough moves, but his third bucket was an easy one as he beat Reuvers down the lane in a pick-and-roll situation. With Murphy being hounded, freshman Michael Hurt stepped up and scored 10 points in the first half, easily outscoring his game average of just under three points per game.
The Gophers went on a 7-0 run right at the end of the first half to take the lead with the help of two Reuvers turnovers in the final minute, but Brevin Pritzl hit a tough fadeaway three at the buzzer to give the Badgers the lead at halftime, 35-34.
Murphy and the Gophers started out the second half strong. Murphy scored two quick buckets as Minnesota turned the one-point deficit into a six-point lead, but then Murphy was whistled for his third foul after Happ took his second charge of the game on the Minnesota big man with 14:13 left in the game. In Murphy’s three-plus minute absence, both teams went on scoring droughts of over two minutes.
Minnesota used the same strategy on Happ (as every team does) doubling down after he caught the ball, holding him to just one field goal attempt in the first twenty minutes. The Badgers had it going from deep to make up for Happ’s ineffectiveness, going 7/14 from beyond the arch during the first half.
Wisconsin went absolutely cold in the middle of the second half, only scoring two buckets during a 9:52 stretch. Pritzl, who made a bunch of big shots on Monday night, hit his fourth three-pointer of the night to end the drought and revive the Kohl Center with the Badgers down four and just under four minutes remaining.
Pritzl said of his big night: “It’s just about always being ready to shoot and letting it fly.”
The Badgers kept fighting, ultimately forcing overtime and getting the win.
Wisconsin attempted 29 threes on Monday night to Minnesota’s 16 to edge out the Gophers from deep, combined with the defense down the stretch, to pull out a game that seemed out of grasp.
Up next, the Badgers travel to Illinois for a game against Northwestern on Thursday.