Challenge Met: Wisconsin Comes From Behind To Beat N.C. State, 79-75

Challenge Met: Wisconsin Comes From Behind To Beat N.C. State, 79-75

Basketball

Challenge Met: Wisconsin Comes From Behind To Beat N.C. State, 79-75

MADISON, Wis. – After facing the slow, plodding style of No.4 Virginia, the University of Wisconsin returned home for the fast-paced, in-your-face style of North Carolina State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The Badgers almost weren’t up to the task.

Trailing by as many as 12 points early in the second half, No.22 Wisconsin chipped its way back into the lead in the final minutes and hung on for a hard-earned 79-75 victory over the Wolfpack in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Ethan Happ registered his seventh double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Brad Davison scored 12 points with a decisive drawn charge for Wisconsin (6-1), who registered their third win over a Power-Five opponent in the month of November.

D’Mitrik Trice (18 points) and Aleem Ford (12) also had a big hand in the comeback for the Badgers, who found their groove in a second half where they shot 62.1 percent.

UW tried to get back into the game with its 3-point shooting. Back-to-back perimeter shots by Ford and Trice cut Wisconsin’s deficit to 45-42.  C.J. Bryce (18 points) answered with a 3-pointer, Ford answers right back and then Markell Johnson (game-high 21) hits his own 3-pointer.

That’s how it appeared to be going for Wisconsin in the second half, able to hit a big shot but not register the defensive stop to get the game closer.

Ford – playing his most extended minutes of the season following knee surgery – hit another 3-pointer to cut the lead to 59-57 with 9:10 remaining, but the Badgers saw N.C. State go on a 6-0 run to push the lead back to eight.

UW cut the lead to one with 5:24 remaining following a Trice 3-pointer, a left-handed Happ layup and a Kobe King second-chance basket, but the Wolfpack delivered four quick points to answer.

Happ gave the Badgers their first lead of the second half when his right-handed hook shot dropped with 2:19 remaining, but Bryce answered right before the shot clock expired, hitting a fadeaway baseline jumper with Davison doing his best to contest to give N.C. State the lead right back.

After Trice hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie the game with 1:20 remaining, NC State senior Wyatt Walker – a graduate transfer who took an official visit to Wisconsin in the spring – committed a loose ball foul on Happ, resulting in the senior hitting a 1 of 2 free throws for a 74-73 lead with 1:06 remaining.

When guard Braxton Beverly missed a pull-up jumper on the next possession, Trice made them pay with a deep pull-up jumper with one second remaining on the shot clock and 23.6 remaining on the game clock, giving UW a 76-73 lead.

Davison took it from there. When Johnson driving baseline, Davison stuck his feet down in the driving lane and drew his fifth charge of the game.

UW made 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to ice the win.

Wisconsin’s first half was indicative of a slugfest, or a lack of execution. The Badgers went 3-for-10 on layups and 35.7 percent from the field, committing seven turnovers in 32 possessions to dig itself a 36-29 halftime deficit.

UW cleaned up the turnovers in the second half, committing only four, critical in not giving the Wolfpack (6-1) any extra possessions.

Wisconsin plays its second true road game of the season Friday when it takes on No.14 Iowa in the Big Ten opener in Iowa City.

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