Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ awoke in the second half, and Wisconsin took full advantage of it in a 71-60 comeback victory over the Maryland Terrapins.
Wisconsin found itself down by six points at the half in large part to shooting just 28 percent from the field. However, UW erased that lead and then some as it finally got two players hot in Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes.
Happ had 20 points once again for UW, but he finally got some help as Nigel Hayes lived at the free throw line and poured in 21 points (9 of 14 from the free throw line).
Wisconsin’s sophomore center, Happ, wouldn’t just get it done scoring either. He would add seven rebounds, three assists, five steals and two blocks on the day.
UW shot an incredible 51.5 percent from the field in the second half, opening up its big lead with a 19-5 run to start the second half.
If Wisconsin was going to get out of its shooting slump, someone forgot to tell the guys on the court in the first half. Wisconsin had three droughts of 2:30 or longer in the first half and went in to the break shooting just 28 percent.
Maryland was able to shoot 50 percent from the field, but led just 33-27 at the half. That was in large part due to 11 turnovers, which Wisconsin turned in to 11 points.
Wisconsin also added 12 points from the free throw line and six second-chance points to keep the game close at the half.
Hayes led all Badgers in the first half with seven points, but was just 2-of-7 from the field and amazingly was 3-of-4 from the charity stripe.
However, the highlight of the first half came from Brevin Pritzl, who shocked everyone in attendance and those watching at home with a two-handed slam off a great cut.
Pritzl would go on to finish with his best game of the season, pouring in seven points and grabbing seven boards on the day.
However, Prtizl’s slam dunk wasn’t the wake up call. That came later and in private for the Badgers. The wake up call for Wisconsin’ offense finally came at intermission of this contest. Wisconsin came out absolutely on fire and erased Maryland’s lead in less than four minutes.
However, UW’s offense wasn’t the only thing that woke up in the second half. After UW’s 19-5 run to start the second half, Maryland’s Melo Trimble went nuts to try to get his team back in the game.
With UW leading 38-46 with 12:16 to play, Trimble went on to score 12 of Maryland’s next 14 points. However, the Terps couldn’t stop fouling and unlike most of the season, Wisconsin was actually good from the free throw line.
Six made free throws made sure that Wisconsin maintained a lead. Once Trimble cooled off a bit, the Badgers took a four-point lead with 7:21 to play and extended it to a game-high 12 points at 64-52 in less than four minutes of action.
It was a lead that would only get under 10 points again after the game was well in hand with 24 seconds to play.
Just how efficient was Wisconsin’s second half offense? Check this out from Dave Revsine of BTN:
Wisconsin 2nd half – better than 1.4 points per possession. As good as they've looked in quite some time.
— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) February 19, 2017
Trimble was Maryland’s offense on the day, as only Michal Cekovsky (10 points) reached double figures alongside the star guard.
UW’s victory not only puts them even with Purdue at the top of the standings, it puts the pressure squarely back on the Boilermakers after their big win over Michigan State on Saturday afternoon.
Maryland meanwhile must hope that both Purdue and Wisconsin drop a pair of games while they go on to win out to become Big Ten regular season champions.
Certainly it is advantage Wisconsin if they can get the offense they saw in the second half to be the offense that goes the entire game from now on.
Badgers basketball lands pair of 4-star players in 2021 class
Witnessing a win over the Northwestern Wildcats must have done the trick, because two of Wisconsin’s biggest targets in the 2021 class both committed on Sunday.
First to commit was the more surprising name, as Top247 point guard Chucky Hepburn.
The No. 23 ranked point guard and No. 141 ranked player in the country per the 247Sports composite rankings chose the Badgers over offers from Minnesota, Nebraska, and Creighton. He also was beginning to see interest from some of the bigger names in college basketball, but chose to pick a team that had been on him for awhile.
“I called coach Gard 30 minutes ago and committed,” Hepburn told Badger247. “The education part was really great. I loved all the academic advisors are part of the basketball program and how they work with them.
“With the basketball side, I fit perfectly with the system they run. I feel like the assistant coaches will help me get where I want to be, because they all played professionally before.”
But, not long after that news broke, word of the biggest target on UW’s list committing would break as well.
Wisconsin would add 4-star forward Matthew Mors to the mix as well.
Mors comes to the Badgers ranked as the No. 115 player in the country and the No. 22 power forward in the nation as well.
The Badgers had been on Mors since his eighth grade year and the persistence paid off, despite other offers across the Big Ten and Big 12 coming to him.
Mors chose Wisconsin over names like Creighton, Iowa State, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, TCU, and more.
With these two pledges, the Badgers have solidified their 2021 recruiting class rather early and they hit on all their top priority prospects as well.
Hepburn and Mors join fellow 4-star player in 6-8 power forward Chris Hodges. With three 4-star players to their name, the Badgers currently own the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
Yes, Wisconsin isn’t likely to own that No. 1 ranking by the end of the class, but there’s no doubt that the Badgers have done something special in the 2021 class.
It is a huge statement for head coach Greg Gard after the program missed out on some massive in-state names in the past few classes. Many had begun to wonder if the Badgers could ever hit on big targets with Gard as the head coach.
Those thoughts should be put to rest with this class and how the Badgers closed out the 2020 class prior to this.
It should also be noted that assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft was the lead recruiter on each of the last four overall commitments for the Badgers, including 2020 names Steven Crowl and Ben Carlson.
Of course, we won’t know for a while how these big recruiting numbers stack up once they get on the floor for some time. But, winning on the recruiting trail like this puts the Badgers in a much better spot to be competitive for a very long time than previously thought.
Carlson commits to Badgers 2020 basketball class
It appears the 2020 Wisconsin Badgers basketball class has come to a close.
The four-star center chose the Badgers over a who’s who of basketball offers in the Midwest including Ohio State, Xavier, Stanford, Purdue, Creighton, Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa State, Kansas State, Wake Forest, and others.
Much like Crowl, Carlson took his official visit to Madison earlier this month for the Central Michigan football game.
Carlson comes to the Badgers as the No. 15 ranked forward in the entire country per the 247Sports composite rankings, the No. 82 ranked player overall and with a .967 grade from the composite.
He was high up the Badgers list for a long time, even as they targeted other highly rate options at forward like Jalen Johnson. However, as the board began to shake out, it was clear the Badgers wanted Carlson no matter what Johnson or anyone else was going to do in this class.
It appears that the relationship that Carlson formed with the current roster while on his visit is what put the Badgers over the top in this lengthly recruitment.
“A big focus was on getting to know the players, so I hung out with them a lot,” Carlson told Badger247. “They talked about how the coaching staff tells you straight-up how everything is going to be, they don’t sugarcoat anything. They told me about how much they liked it there.”
“I had a pretty good idea of how Wisconsin was going in,” he continued. “The biggest thing was getting to know the players and I really liked them. I know about the history and the campus, but getting to know the players was big for sure.”
Adding this type of nationally known name to an already big class is huge for the Badgers. In fact, UW has the No. 4 ranked class per the 247Sports composite team rankings.
It would be the highest the Badgers have ever finished in the rankings, with the 2006 class under Bo Ryan the next highest at No. 20 in the country.
Wisconsin is getting easily one of the most skilled big men in the class and an instant impact type of player. What has been a question mark up front could easily be a strength of this team quickly thanks to Carlson and Crowl’s commitments to the class.
Badgers add 4-star center to 2020 basketball class
What could be a historic recruiting class for the Wisconsin Badgers got another boost on Tuesday as 4-star center Steven Crowl verbally committed to the Badgers.
He went on his official visit this past weekend and apparently it was all he needed to see.
Crowl has since cancelled trips to other contenders like Colorado, Iowa, and Northern Iowa. He also had an offer from the in-state Gophers and was thinking about a visit there.
However, his official visit for the Central Michigan football game weekend was all he needed to pull the trigger on a commitment to Gard and the Badgers.
Crowl joins an already loaded Badgers 2020 class that includes in-state star Johnny Davis and his twin brother Jordan Davis, as well as the No. 25 ranked point guard in the country according to the 247Sports composite rankings, Lorne Bowman.
This class also already has preferred walk-on Carter Gilmore, who chose that offer over other mid-major D1 offers and saw his recruitment pick up considerably in the July evaluation period.
While his name wasn’t a hot one on the recruiting trail, he was a late riser and currently sits as the No. 102 ranked player in the class overall and the No. 17 center in the nation per the 247Sports composite rankings.
The St. Paul, Minn. native is also continuing the pipeline of players coming from the cross-border rival Gopher state. He comes from the same AAU program — Minnesota D1 — that produced both Tyler Wahl and Nate Reuvers.
With Crowl in the fold, Wisconsin has added 12 players from the state of Minnesota in the 247Sports composite era, according to Badger247.
When you take a look at Crowl’s film, what you see is someone that has begun to both physically and mentally mature. He’s got the skill set that UW likes out of their bigs as well, with a nice looking shot from the outside.
However, what you also see on tape is someone that may need to take a year to adjust to the college game and that may be perfectly fine with the coaching staff as they still will have Nate Reuvers and Tyler Wahl to work with up front as starters.
It will be interesting to see how Crowl digests the speed of the college game early on. If he can adjust to that and the physicality, he may indeed find himself in the rotation quickly though.
He is certainly in the mold of what has become the classic Wisconsin big man.
Former Badger Jon Leur traded to Milwaukee Bucks
They say you can always go home, and for one former Wisconsin Badger he’s coming back to a state he called home for four years.
Former Badgers forward Jon Leuer was traded early on Thursday morning from the Detroit Pistons to the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange for Leuer, the Bucks gave up the 30th overall pick in tonight’s NBA Draft and traded away Tony Snell.
Last season, Leuer played in 41 games for the Pistons and made just one start. He averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his ninth season in the NBA.
Leuer is a very similar player to Snell, but comes at a much more team-friendly salary.
In trading away Snell, the Bucks free up an additional $4 million in salary this year and another $12 million next year.
This could be seen as a way for the Bucks to pony up the big money that Khris Middleton wants from the team in order to stay in Milwaukee.
As for Leuer, he is 17th on the all-time Badgers scoring list with 1,376 points to his name. He also finished his career with 551 rebounds.
Leuer’s final season in Madison was his best statistically, as he helped lead the 2010-11 Badgers team to the Sweet 16. He averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game that year.
Badgers football2 months ago
Cephus looking to get back to school, but will he get back in to UW?
Badgers football3 months ago
Badgers add 3-star CB to 2020 class
Badgers football2 months ago
Joe Thomas makes CBS Sports All-time All-American list
Badgers football2 months ago
Badgers Opposition Research: Kent State preseason edition