The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Texas A&M Aggies 69-58 in the opening game of the Maui Invitational. The tournament, usually in Hawaii, has been changed to Las Vegas. It was an impressive win for a young Wisconsin team. Here are my takeaways from today’s game.
Slow Start But Defense Led To Good Offense
If you watched this afternoon’s game, the first ten minutes was not good. Wisconsin fell behind as much as 16 in the first half. Texas A&M made six of their first seven threes and controlled the pace of the game. The up and down style made the Badgers uncomfortable. This game was lead to a blowout early.
What changed? Wisconsin created stops on the defensive side of the ball and it led to making shots. Wisconsin ended the first half on a 15-1 run and took a 35-34 lead at half. The Badgers continued to shoot well in the second half, leading the Aggies 61-45 at one point. The game was essentially over at that.
The Big Three Played Well
The Badger will games when Tyler Wahl, Johnny Davis, and Brad Davison are playing well. They combined for 46 of the 69 points. Wahl only had six points, but he was great on defense and kept plays alive on offense.
Brad Davison, the heart and soul of the team, found a rhythm early in the game and had 14 points in the first half. He only shot 5-16 from the field, but he will need to shoot a ton if Wisconisn will stay in games.
Johnny Davis was fantastic. It was one of his best games in a Badger uniform. He scored a career high 19 points and added nine rebounds. He will only get better as his career goes on.
Sparks From The Bench
The bench only scored six points and no one played more than 11 minutes. However, two plays stuck with me in this game from the bench mob.
First, Carter Gilmore ran down a fast break and swatted away an easy Aggie basket. The hustle play from Gilmore allowed the Badgers to get the ball back. The Aggies were starting to claw back in the game before the Gilmore block.
The second play came from sophomore Jordan Davis. Johnny will steal the headlines, but Jordan recorded four rebounds and three points in six minutes. After keeping Davis in a stretch run after the media timeout, the Badger swung the ball around the perimeter. The ball came to Johnny Davis who passed on a three, found his brother, and Jordan hit a corner three. While playing time has been limited for Jordan, we should see him get more minutes with the Badgers playing three games in three days.
The Badgers will take on the winner of Butler and Houston tomorrow at 4 PM. Wisconsin will look to earn a spot in the Maui Invitational finals.