The 24th ranked Wisconsin Badgers defeated a talented Nebraska team on the road Tuesday night, 62-51, to win their fourth game in a row and improve to 15-6 on the season, and an impressive 7-3 in the powerhouse Big Ten.
Although stars Ethan Happ and Brad Davison made some big plays, the keys to this one were team defense, and some timely plays from the bench to lead the Badgers to victory.
For the fourth game in a row, Wisconsin’s team defense was the anchor that led them to victory. Holding a talented team to just 51 points on their own floor is great as it is, but the Badgers did much more than that in Lincoln on Tuesday night.
Wisconsin allowed just 21 points to the Huskers in the first half, but even more impressively, forced Nebraska to shoot just 28% from the field, and 20% from long range.
If the defense can consistently pressure like that, which it has four games in a row now, the Badgers can play with anybody.
Bench stepping up
Brad Davison and Ethan Happ helped lead the team in scoring, but two of the biggest performers came off the bench in the victory: Brevin Pritzl and senior big man, Charles Thomas.
Prtizl scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds, with both of his field goals coming from long range, and Thomas added five points. The numbers are modest, but the timing was impeccable.
Pritzl hit a three in the first half, and then gave the Badgers the lead for good with his made three late in the second half, leading Wisconsin on a game-clinching run.
Thomas, on the other hand, grabbed an offensive rebound and a putback score to tie the game at 37. Then, just a minute later, Thomas hit a three to tie the game at 40 when it felt like the Huskers were getting all the momentum.
These highlights were encouraging for the Badgers, especially in a hostile environment. As Thomas stated after the game via Wisconsin’s official Twitter account postgame, he and his teammates found ways to be “persistent, and resilient.”
Thomas added, “It’s always nice to pick up a win on the road.”
Big Shot Brad
Finally, in a game loaded with offensive talent on both teams, Brad Davison was the best player in the big moment.
After Pritzl’s three gave Wisconsin the lead, Davison quite literally took over the game, scoring 10 points in a row and giving the Badgers an 11 point win.
Davison hit a tough three, followed by a stepback and a pretty and-one finish on the block, which really ignited the bench.
Wisconsin takes their four-game win streak to the Kohl Center Friday night, with a massive conference showdown against the 21st ranked Maryland Terrapins.