#4 Virginia put the clamps on #25 Wisconsin to win the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game on Friday afternoon, 53-46. The Badgers battled back despite a 15-point halftime deficit, but unfortunately, it was too big of a hole to come back from with Virginia’s defense and ability to take care of the ball.
Wisconsin actually outshot Virginia from the field and had the best player on the floor, Ethan Happ. Happ compiled a stat line of 22 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, and four blocks. Happ was dominant, but Virginia turned it over just five times and only let Wisconsin hit two shots from beyond the arch. Virginia shot 12 free throws to Wisconsin’s three, one of the bigger discrepancies in the matchup.
The Virginia Cavaliers came into the game with the fourth-ranked defense in college basketball. They made their defensive prowess known from the opening tip. The Badgers were only able to muster up three field goals in nearly ten minutes to start out the game as Virginia raced out to a 15-6 lead.
Virginia doubled Happ early on, allowing the point center to make plays. Happ hit a cutting Khalil Iverson to start out the game and later found Nate Reuvers right in front of the hoop wide open for a lay-in. Virginia quickly abandoned their defensive gameplan of doubling Happ on every touch.
Wisconsin cut Virginia’s lead down to 21-16 after Happ had a nice little offensive run with three buckets in as many minutes. However, Virginia quickly took back control with two threes in short order from Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome, and Tony Bennett’s squad was back up by 11 points. In total, the Virginia run was 12-2 to end the half as they took a 33-18 lead into the break. Wisconsin had seven possessions of four turnovers and three missed field goals during the run.
The Badgers started off the second half on a 9-3 run, immediately making it an interesting game again. After a first half with zero converted threes, Brad Davison and Kobe King both knocked down threes in the opening minutes of the half to bring Wisconsin within six, 40-34. Davison and King’s pair of threes would be the only threes the Badgers were able to hit.
Wisconsin stuck around because of defense and Happ, but they never really made up any more ground on the Cavaliers than the six-point deficit. De’Andre Hunter had an excellent week in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, and the championship game wasn’t any different. Hunter led Virginia in scoring and rebounds with 20 points and nine boards.
Happ was the only Badger in double figures. Trice and Davison, the steady complimentary contributors to Happ, had untimely struggles against one of the best teams in the nation. The backcourt pair combined for just 4/17 shooting and ten points.
Up next, the Badgers play NC State at home in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m.