Strong Second Half Pushes No.12 Wisconsin Past Rutgers, 69-64

Strong Second Half Pushes No.12 Wisconsin Past Rutgers, 69-64

Basketball

Strong Second Half Pushes No.12 Wisconsin Past Rutgers, 69-64

MADISON, Wis. – The frontcourt prowess of senior Ethan Happ and the savvy marksmanship of sophomore D’Mitrik Trice proved to be a huge catalyst for the University of Wisconsin.

Happ and Trice combined to score 34 points, 22 coming in the second half, as No.12 Wisconsin utilized a 22-10 run coming out of the halftime locker room to get past scrappy Rutgers, 69-64, at the Kohl Center Monday.

Happ finished with 20 points – his third game this season scoring at least 20 points – and Trice added 14 for Wisconsin (8-1, 2-0 Big Ten), which shot 58.6 percent in the second half.

Jumping up 10 spots in the Associated Press poll early in the day, getting rewarded for knocking off a pair of undefeated programs in N.C. State and Iowa last week, the Badgers began a step slow defensively and delivered flat shots offensively. That dug Wisconsin a 10-point hole late in the first half, as Rutgers made 10 of its first 16 shots by attacking UW with the back cut. The Scarlet Knights finished the half shooting 53.8 percent.

UW struggled to counter because its offense couldn’t string together positive possessions. Although UW shot 48 percent in the first half, UW made only two baskets in nearly 9:30 of game time, only catching fire by making four of its final five shots heading into the locker room.

On the Badgers’ 12 made first-half field goals, none came with an assist.

UW changed that coming out of the locker, scoring the first four points in the first 42 seconds off Khalil Iverson and sparking an 13-4 run that saw Happ and Nate Reuvers (10 points) score 11 of the points.

A 3-pointer by Aleem Ford made it a 7-point lead with 11:05 and D’Mitrik Trice rattling off five quick points to give UW a 57-46 lead with 4:49 remaining.

The Scarlet Knights (5-3, 0-2) wouldn’t go away, evidenced by Ron Harper Jr’s old-fashioned 3-point play to cut the lead to 60-55.

Rutgers caught a break when Happ missed both free throws after Eugene Omoruyi was whistled for a Flagrant-1 foul for hooking, but saw Trice hit another big 3-pointer with 56 seconds left to push the lead to 67-59.

Committing only one turnover in the second half, UW had seven assists on 17 field goals

Omoruyi had 17 points and Geo Baker had 15 points to lead Rutgers (5-3, 0-2), which fell to 0-3 in Big Ten games in Madison.

Wisconsin takes a month off from conference play to finish the nonconference portion of its schedule, starting with a road trip to Marquette Saturday evening.

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