MADISON- The Wisconsin Badgers unofficially kicked off their 2018-2019 campaign Friday night against the Division III Oshkosh Titans. After a slow start, Wisconsin’s pace and talent took over, as the Badgers got the win, 82-70.
Wisconsin didn’t look much like the superior team early, as the two teams were tied at 14 over eight minutes in, and the Badgers started 0/8 from downtown.
Then, Khalil Iverson and D’Mitrik Trice helped turn the tides for the Badgers. Iverson was all over the floor in the first half to lead Wisconsin with 10 points, and Trice took command of the court with nine points, four rebounds and three assists from the point guard position. Trice also hit the first three-pointer of the game for the Badgers.
Preseason All-American Ethan Happ and Brad Davison each chipped in eight points in the first twenty minutes, en route to a 47-28 lead for the Badgers at the break. Wisconsin held the Titans to 36% from the field in the first, and also forced seven turnovers.
Wisconsin used their pace to their advantage in the first half, with 37 possessions in 20 minutes.
Early in the second half, the biggest highlight was big man Ethan Happ draining a three, and setting the crowd up to go wild. Happ spent some time out on the perimeter, and looked more comfortable shooting from deep as well.
Wisconsin shot much better in the second half, this time led by Brad Davison and the All-American, Happ.
Eventually leading by 26 at one point, the Badgers played 14 of their 16 active players, and 11 of them scored in the process. It is certainly great for the younger players to gain some experience, but that also hurt the final margin of victory in the end, 82-70.
One big takeaway was the Badgers’ use of a four-guard lineup with one big man in the game, usually Happ. It helped space the floor with shooters, and Wisconsin still won the rebounding comparison as well, albeit to much smaller competition.
With the victory, Wisconsin now looks ahead to Tuesday, as the Badgers open the season at home against Coppin State.