It was a tough outing for the Musketeers, as Wisconsin showed stretches of dominance before getting the 77-68 victory in Cintas.
It was a difficult first half for the Musketeers, as they trailed the entire first half.
Wisconsin started hot, shooting 3/3 from three point range as they jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first three and a half minutes. Xavier managed to stay even for a while after that, and trailed by as many as 11 points, with 9:35 left in the half.
They didn’t get with six until late, but they steadily clawed their way back to only be down 30-28 at half. The defense, outside of the early threes, looked completely different than the one against Evansville.
Wisconsin only shot 1/5 from three-point range after the start, and Xavier held them to only 13/33 shooting from the floor for the entire half.
Sophomore Naji Marshall made a big impact in the first half, leading the team in scoring and rebounds with nine points and eight rebounds.
Graduate student Zach Hankins made a big impact on the defensive end, as him and junior Tyrique Jones played excellent defense on Wisconsin star Ethan Happ around the rim, forcing him the miss five shots around the rim. Hankins also had two blocks.
Xavier got off to a rough start in the second half, allowing a 7-0 Wisconsin run off defensive lapses. The Badgers had a 10 point, 42-32 lead with 15:42 left in the game.
It only got worse from there, as Wisconsin continued to get easy offense and pushed their lead to 58-41 with 10:30. The game remaining even through the next four minute war as Xavier trailed 63-47 with 7:13 left.
Xavier continued to chip away at the lead, but it wasn’t enough given the deficit. It was 65-52 at the final media timeout with 3:58, and Wisconsin kept the lead through the end of the game, beating Xavier 77-68.
The defense in the second half more of the defense against Evansville than the first half, allowing Wisconsin to shoot 18/29 after the break, including 5/8 from three-point range.
The trio of Ethan Happ, D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison combined for 71 of Wisconsin’s 77 points. They also had 24 of the Badgers 40 rebounds and 13 of the Badgers 14 assists.
Marshall led the team in scoring, netting 24 points. He also led the team in rebounds with 13. Hankins had a stellar outing, posting a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, in addition to a game high four blocks.
Junior Quentin Goodin also had a double figure scoring output with 13 points, in addition to a team high five assists.