Five Takeaways from No.22 Wisconsin's 71-52 Win At Penn State

Five Takeaways from No.22 Wisconsin's 71-52 Win At Penn State

Basketball

Five Takeaways from No.22 Wisconsin's 71-52 Win At Penn State

Five things that stood out from Wisconsin’s 71-52 win over Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday, giving the Badgers their 11th straight win over the Nittany Lions.

1, Another Slow Start

Whether they are rusty from the Christmas break or are just flat out slumping, the Badgers certainly haven’t helped themselves early in the past couple games. While they defended well and held the Nittany Lions to just seven points in the first 10 minutes of the half, Wisconsin shot just 29 percent in that time for 14 points. Ethan Happ in the first 10 minutes was 2 for 10 on his attempts before he got things going later on. With some of the tough opponents coming up on their schedule, the Badgers need to be locked in from the opening tip.

2, Staying Efficient

While they did get off to a slow start, Wisconsin went into the half with an 11-point lead because it played its brand of basketball. Committing only three turnovers and two fouls, the Badgers were tough on the defensive end, forced Penn State to work for its shots and forced 11 first-half turnovers, which translated into nine additional points.

3, Charles Thomas Leads Strong Bench Night

Happ missing 14 shots and D’Mitrik Trice going 2-for-9 from the field would usually spell defeat for the Badgers this season, but Wisconsin got quality contributions from a number of players. While Brad Davison (12 points) and Nate Reuvers (11) scoring points aren’t that uncommon, seeing Thomas delivering seven points off the bench (five in the first half) was a huge lift.

Failing to score in five of his last seven appearances and making only four times this season, Thomas led a bench performance that included six points from Brevin Pritzl, four points from Kobe King and two points from Tai Strickland. On nights where Happ, Trice or both struggle, UW needs this kind of a boost from the reserves.

4, Defense Does the Damage

Minus the second half against Western Kentucky, Wisconsin has relied on its defense throughout the campaign. While Lamar Stevens got his points (22 on 9-for-18), UW cut off his teammates. Rasir Bolton went 2-for-10, Myles Dread went 3-for-7 and Josh Reaves went 3-for-8. Coming into the night ranked 12th in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting, Penn State couldn’t get back into the game with Wisconsin’s length contesting them from the outside, as the Nittany Lions went only 4-for-20.

5, Much-Needed Win

After letting the last two slip, UW needed this win badly to regain the momentum now being in conference play. This was the first win for the Badger team this year when Trice scores less than 10 points, as he struggled in the game scoring five points. On a positive note, Davison has been coming on strong as of late and is close to becoming that consistent third scorer. UW has rarely chipped in a complete performance as a team, so Sunday was an encouraging step moving forward to meet the program’s high expectations.

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