Twenty-second ranked Wisconsin came out victorious in a gritty road game against Northwestern, 69-64. Four Wisconsin starters scored in double figures to overcome a halftime deficit to win their second straight game.
It was your typical grind-it-out type of game for Wisconsin. The game was a slugfest with both teams trading leads often. Ethan Happ hit a spin-hook with just under nine minutes remaining that created the biggest difference between Wisconsin and Northwestern at that point of just five points.
Khalil Iverson, after a solid performance against Illinois in the previous outing, scored 11 points including a pair of and-one finishes in the second half to help propel the Badgers to the victory. With just a shade under three minutes remaining, Iverson hit his second and-one to give the Badgers a three-point lead, 63-60, that started the Badgers’ 9-4 run to end the game.
Brad Davison led the Badgers in scoring with 16. Happ and Trice finished with 14 apiece, with Trice hitting four three-pointers. Trice hit three of those shots in the first half, which helped keep a struggling offense afloat.
In contrast to Wisconsin’s balanced attack, Northwestern received most of their scoring from seniors Vic Law and Dererk Pardon. The duo combined for 45 of Northwestern’s 64 points. The next highest output from anybody on the team was just six points.
With just a three-point lead in the final seconds and Northwestern trying to get the ball into Law’s hands to send the game into overtime, Trice locked up Law. The stout defense forced Aaron Falzon, who mustered up just two points the entire game, to take the most important shot of the game. Falzon missed the shot and the Badgers secured the win.
Free-throw shooting has been one of the Badgers most persistent problems for the past few seasons. In a game that was close virtually the entire time, UW importantly shot 12-of-16 from the charity stripe. For the second straight game, Happ had to spend some of the most important moments of the game from the bench. Happ did snap a streak of 11 consecutive free-throws missed on Saturday night, going two-of-four.
Northwestern amazingly only turned the ball over three times, typically an important stat in close games. However, just two players were not enough to beat a solid Wisconsin team on Saturday night. Outside of Law and Pardon, Northwestern’s other players made just seven of their 31 attempts.
With the victory, the Badgers improve to 19-8 on the season, and 11-5 in the Big Ten. Up next, the Badgers are at Indiana on Tuesday night.