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Small lineup powers Badgers men's basketball to exhibition victory over UW-Oshkosh
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UW MEN’S BASKETBALL | EXHIBITION

Small lineup powers Badgers men's basketball to exhibition victory over UW-Oshkosh

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Davison

UW guard Brad Davison shoots against UW-Oshkosh forward Adam Fravert during the first half Friday night at the Kohl Center. The sophomore scored seven of his 16 points from the free throw line.

The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team was credited with 21 fast-break points in the first half Friday, and whether that figure is accurate is open for debate.

It’s an unusually high number, particularly for a program that is more turtle than rabbit when it comes to tempo.

“The blazin’ Badgers,” coach Greg Gard deadpanned afterward.

Here’s what couldn’t be disputed from an 82-70 exhibition victory over UW-Oshkosh at the Kohl Center: The Badgers pushed the pace quite a bit against the Titans, taking advantage of the smaller lineups Gard is using in his guard-heavy rotation.

Sophomore guard Brad Davison finished with 16 points to lead the Badgers, while senior forward Khalil Iverson and senior center Ethan Happ scored 13 apiece and sophomore forward Nate Reuvers had 11.

This wouldn’t be the first time UW entered a season vowing to run more before settling into low-possession grinders once the competition got stronger.

But if ever there were a season in which it makes sense to push the ball up the floor, it’s this one. It took about 4 minutes Friday for Gard to deliver on his promise of playing four guards at the same time when he had Davison, D’Mitrik Trice, Brevin Pritzl and Kobe King on the floor with Happ.

“This group, with more ball-handlers on the floor, we can do that,” Gard said of playing up-tempo, “and we have a big guy that can handle the ball, too. Ethan Happ coming in transition is a quandary sometimes for defenses and he makes pretty good decisions for the most part in transition. And we worked on that a little bit, of giving him that license to do that.”

Trice started at point guard and played a solid floor game, finishing with nine points, four assists and four rebounds in 26-plus minutes.

The sophomore limped off the floor with 5:38 left and was checked out by an athletic trainer. “He just rolled his ankle a little bit,” Gard said. “He’s fine.”

Sophomore forward Adam Fravert finished with a game-high 20 points for UW-Oshkosh, which was the NCAA Division III runner-up last season.

For what it’s worth, the 12-point margin between the Badgers and Titans was the closest of the 13 exhibition games UW has played against WIAC opponents since 2004.

The Badgers led by as many as 27 points early in the second half, but the Titans finished strong to make the final score more respectable.

“We obviously were never in single digits and weren’t really threatening to win, but we had it down to where it was a competitive game,” Oshkosh interim coach Matt Lewis said. “We talked about our guys about constantly competing every possession and I thought we absolutely did that.”

The Titans made the Badgers uncomfortable in the first half and were within 22-18 after senior guard Brett Wittchow posted up and scored.

But UW answered with a 21-2 blitz that included 16 points in the paint. The Badgers were 0 of 7 from 3-point range to that point, but they finally stopped settling for jump shots and started attacking the rim.

Iverson had three baskets and Reuvers added a pair during the surge. Trice scored seven points during the run, capping it off with UW’s first connection beyond the arc.

“I think we kind of just settled in,” Davison said. “I think there were kind of some nerves and some jitters just getting on the floor for the first time with fans and playing against a different color jersey.

“They were getting to the rim way too easy in the first few minutes there and we kind of buckled down, Coach set us straight. Once we settled in we finished the first half much stronger on the defensive end.”

It didn’t hurt that UW was turning solid defensive possessions into transition opportunities. Even if that fast-break total in the box score was exaggerated, the Badgers were content to run when given the chance and did a good job of making good decisions in transition.

“When we get them, we’ll take them,” Gard said. “Finishing out defensive possessions is the most important thing before we worry about going to the other end. But there were opportunities and we were able to take advantage of an open floor.”


UW-OSHKOSH

n fg-a ft-a rb pf a to pts

Fravert 33 7-14 4-4 6 4 2 4 7

Flynn 19 1-4 2-2 6 2 2 2 4

Boots 35 4-14 0-0 4 5 2 3 10

Vlotho 25 7-11 0-0 7 0 1 0 17

Wittchow 28 5-12 1-1 1 4 2 4 12

Wilman 4 0-1 0-0 0 1 0 0 0

Van Dyke 10 0-0 0-0 2 2 0 0 0

Peterson 10 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Duax 16 0-1 0-0 1 4 1 0 0

Zeitler 9 0-3 2-2 0 1 0 0 2

Robinson 1 0-1 0-0 0 1 0 0 0

Borta 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Petrie 1 1-1 0-0 1 1 0 0 2

McGlynn 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

O’Connor 1 1-1 1-1 1 0 0 0 3

Rader 1 0-1 0-0 1 0 0 0 0

Whiteside 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals 26-65 10-10 33 25 10 13 70

WISCONSIN

min fg-a ft-a rb pf a to pts

Happ 22 5-9 2-2 5 0 4 2 13

Reuvers 16 4-7 3-4 5 4 0 1 11

Trice 26 3-8 2-2 4 0 4 1 9

Iverson 20 6-12 1-2 3 2 3 3 13

Davison 26 4-11 7-8 4 0 3 0 16

King 22 4-6 0-0 0 1 1 0 9

Anderson 14 0-0 0-0 3 0 1 0 0

McGrory 5 1-1 0-0 1 1 0 0 2

Pritzl 24 2-4 0-1 7 2 1 0 4

Thomas 8 1-5 0-0 3 1 0 0 2

Illikainen 2 0-0 2-4 1 0 0 0 2

Strickland 6 0-2 1-2 0 4 0 0 1

Ballard 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Hedstrom 1 0-0 0-2 1 0 0 0 0

Totals 30-65 18-27 43 15 17 8 82

Team totals include rebounds and turnovers

UW-Oshkosh 28 42 — 70

Wisconsin 47 35 — 82

3-pointers — O 8-29 (Vlotho 3-7, Frevert 2-5, Boots 2-7, Wittchow 1-6, Peterson 0-1, Duax 0-1, Zeitler 0-2); W 4-16 (King 1-2, Happ 1-3, Davison 1-3, Trice 1-4, Reuvers 0-1, Iverson 0-1, Pritzl 0-1, Thomas 0-1). Blocks — O 6 (Fravert 3, Flynn, Wittchow, Van Dyke); W 7 (Happ 2, Reuvers 2, Pritzl 2, Strickland). Steals — O 3 (Wittchow 2, Van Dyke), W 9 (Trice 2, Davison 2, Happ, Iverson, King, Anderson, Pritzl). Field goal percentage — O .400, W .462. Free throw percentage — O 1.000, W .667. Att. — 17,197.

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