Score, recap, stats (December 23, 2017)

Wisconsin basketball defeated Green Bay 81-60 at the Kohl Center on Saturday, Dec. 23. Here is a recap of how the Badgers improved to 6-7 this season.

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Wisconsin and Green Bay play at 4:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 23

Time: 4:30 p.m. CT

Date: Saturday, Dec. 23

Location: Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.

BTN will televise Wisconsin and Green Bay.

The Wisconsin-Green Bay game is available online at WIBA/iHeart radio.

Wisconsin escaped with an important 81-80 victory last week against Western Kentucky that ended in controversial fashion. Badgers guard Brad Davison drew a player-control foul against the Hilltoppers’ Marek Nelson, who was defending the inbound pass in a tie game with 2.0 seconds remaining. Davison made his first free throw to seal the win.

The victory means Wisconsin (5-7, 1-1 Big Ten) can rise above .500 with wins against Green Bay, Chicago State and UMass-Lowell to close out nonconference play. Wisconsin resumes Big Ten play Jan. 2 at home against Indiana.

Badgers forward Ethan Happ continues to produce a solid junior season. He scored 17 points to go with 6 assists and 4 rebounds against Western Kentucky. Davison finished with 16 points and 5 assists while playing 38 minutes for the second consecutive game.

The more encouraging performances for Wisconsin came from guard Brevin Pritzl and forward Aleem Ford. Both players connected on 4 of 5 3-point attempts. Pritzl matched his career high with 17 points, while Ford scored a career-high 14 to go with 5 rebounds. Those two players could be X-factors for the Badgers moving forward because of their long-range shooting ability.

Wisconsin is still adjusting without guards Kobe King and D’Mitrik Trice. King underwent left knee surgery and is out for the season. Trice had surgery on his right foot and has yet to begin rehab. The backcourt now consists of Davison and Pritzl as starters, with T.J. Schlundt absorbing the bulk of the minutes off the bench. Freshman Walt McGrory burned his redshirt and saw his first action against Western Kentucky.

Wisconsin has played arguably the most difficult schedule in the country with eight games against teams ranked in the KenPom top-60 already in the books. That is the most in the nation. Wisconsin also is one of four teams to have played four ranked opponents this season.

The Badgers have also been within minutes of winning four of the seven games they lost. In those four games, Wisconsin was tied or within two points with two minutes remaining.

Wisconsin and Green Bay have played every year since 1999. Wisconsin owns a 22-1 record overall against the Phoenix, including 19-0 in Madison. Greg Gard’s first game as head coach was against Green Bay, an 84-79 win on Dec. 23, 2015.

The matchup against Green Bay also completes Wisconsin’s three-game series against in-state foes. Wisconsin defeated Milwaukee 71-49 on Nov. 24 and lost to Marquette 82-63 on Dec. 9.

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