The Wisconsin Badgers (4-1) upset the No. 12 Houston Cougars (4-1), 65-63, in the Maui Invitational Semifinals in Las Vegas, Nevada. UW will play in the Maui Invitational Championship game tomorrow.
Hell of a win for UW!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this Badgers team is fun to watch.
Also, if there’s still Badgers fans out there that want Greg Gard to be fired, my message to those people: Seek help …. immediately.
Today very well might have been the day that Johnny Davis established himself as a star for UW.
Johnny Davis was unbelievable today, scoring a game-high 30 points on 10-of-18 from the field in 37 minutes. Davis also had four rebounds, four steals (one of them huge late in the game) and an assist.
Johnny is really crushing the narrative that athletic scorers can’t thrive at Wisconsin. Thirty points on 18 shots against the No. 3 defense in KenPom.
The Badger faithful gave him a standing ovation as he walked off the court, and deservedly so!
Wisconsin jumped on Houston in the first half, taking a 40-20 lead into the intermission. UW also only committed three turnovers against this very good Houston defense.
However, Houston’s defense turned up the pressure in the second half and slowly clawed their way back into the game. Houston forced six uncharacteristic Wisconsin turnovers in the final 20 minutes.
Tyler Wahl kept the Badgers afloat with nine second half points while the offense was struggling a little bit. Wahl scored all nine points in a four-minute stretch after Houston went on a 10-0 run to start the second half.
UW was just 7-of-21 (33.3%) from the field and 0-of-9 from 3-point range in the second half. UW took advantage of Houston’s aggressive defense and converted on 11-of-12 free throws in the second half.
For the game, UW shot 23-for-49 (46.9%) from the field, 7-of-24 (29.2%) from 3-point range and 12-of-15 (80.0%) from the free throw line and committed nine turnovers.
Ben Carlson gave UW some very good quality minutes in the first half when Steven Crowl and Chris Vogt were in foul trouble.
UW’s defense was really good today. A big key for that was they limited Houston’s offense to just seven fast break points and only eight points in the nine UW turnovers.
UW head coach Greg Gard postgame said: “I think this team is growing up right in front of our eyes and it’s fun to watch.”
The Badgers will play either Oregon (3-1) or Saint Mary’s (5-0) tomorrow in the Maui Invitational Title game. Tipoff is set for 4:00 PM (Central Time) and will be nationally televised on ESPN.
The Saint Mary’s/Oregon semifinals game tips off tonight at 7:00 PM (Central Time) on ESPN.