MADISON- In a record-breaking offensive performance at the Kohl Center, the 16th ranked Wisconsin Badgers got back in the winning column, dominating Savannah State, en route to a 101-60 victory.
Wisconsin was without starting wing Khalil Iverson, so redshirt freshman Kobe King made his first career start, and the Badgers did not miss a beat.
Wisconsin struggled to shoot well in their loss to Marquette over the weekend, but they made up for it on Thursday night, early and often, and especially from deep.
The scoring started with familiar faces in Ethan Happ down low and D’Mitrik Trice from long range, but then everyone joined in, including players off the bench.
Charles Thomas provided valuable minutes in the post on the defensive end and grabbed a career high eight rebounds on the night, and Tai Strickland entered the game early, and made his presence felt, knocking in back to back triples on his first two possessions.
The All-American Happ did a bit of everything in the first half with 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists, but the story of the half was sophomore Brad Davison. After struggling against in-state rival Marquette, Davison exploded for 19 points in his first 18 minutes, and shot the lights out, including going 5/6 from beyond the arc.
Savannah State launched 22 three-pointers of their own in the first half, but only made five of them, and could not keep up with Wisconsin’s size or frenetic scoring.
At the break, Wisconsin led by a record-breaking score of 69-32, and shot an incredible 70% from the field.
Wisconsin also dominated on the glass in the first twenty minutes, by a 23-7 advantage. Wisconsin’s 69 points were the most in one half in the history of the program.
At the break, Strickland had 12 points and three assists, and was a +17 in just seven minutes.
Wisconsin didn’t quite keep up its incredible scoring pace in the second half, but worked just as hard, especially on the defensive end. Davison epitomized this in the half, diving for loose balls with his team up 40.
With seconds left in the game and the Badgers at 98 points, the crowd urged the team to get to 100, and walk-on Walt McGrory hit a three-pointer to give Wisconsin 101. It was the first time in five years the Badgers reached the century mark in a game.
Wisconsin also set a Kohl Center record with 28 assists as a team.
Davison led all scorers with 24 points, and was asked about some of his previous shooting struggles after the game.
“Tough times will come,” said Davison, “But tough people last, and I trust the shots will fall.”
Davison looked as confident as ever on Thursday, and the Badgers now head into finals week at 9-2, with nine days off until their next game.