EditorsNote: fixes story type to “recap”
With Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers watching from a prime seat courtside, junior center Ethan Happ showed him another way to be a dominant playmaker in Wisconsin.
With the offense running through him on virtually every possession, Happ piled up a season-high 28 points to lead Wisconsin to a 71-61 Big Ten victory over Indiana on Tuesday night at Kohl Center.
“I think the biggest thing is that we stuck together and we know that we can get wins even though we’re down on bodies,” said Happ, who added nine rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks.
The Badgers (9-7, 2-1 Big Ten) won their fifth game in a row overall and their 16th consecutive against the Hoosiers (8-7, 1-2) on the Kohl Center floor.
Indiana, which was paced by redshirt senior walk-on Collin Hartman’s career-high 18 points, hasn’t won in Madison since 1998.
Freshman guard Brad Davison (14 points) and junior forward Khalil Iverson (10 points) also contributed double figures for Wisconsin.
Junior forward Juwan Morgan posted 17 points and four steals for Indiana, and senior guard Robert Johnson notched 14 points.
Badgers freshman center Nathan Reuvers earned his first start and buried a 3-pointer 1:32 into the game to give Wisconsin a 6-0 lead. Reuvers started for junior guard Brevin Pritzl (8.4 points per game), who missed a game for the first time this season due to a head injury, giving the Badgers three key perimeter players on the sideline.
Then something happened that ought to have helped the Badgers further: Indiana center De’Ron Davis (10.1 ppg) picked up his second foul at the 17:33 mark and left for the rest of the half. Hartman, a redshirt senior walk-on averaging 5.3 points, jumped into the fray and went wild.
Hartman scored 13 points — drilling 3 of 5 3-point attempts along the way — to lift the Hoosiers to a 33-30 halftime lead. Essentially, he matched Happ hoop for hoop. The All-Big Ten center delivered 15 of Wisconsin’s 30 points and 4 of its 9 rebounds before the break while putting Davis and Morgan on the bench for long stretches with two fouls apiece.
Indiana coach Archie Miller returned Davis to the floor to start the second half, but Morgan left with his third foul at the 17:00 mark to allow Hartman back into the fray. Hartman flushed a 3-pointer from the wing with 13:39 to play to give the Hoosiers a 45-44 lead and set his career high with 16 points.
However, that was when Wisconsin seized control. With the Badgers continuing to run their patient swing offense through Happ in the post, the wiry 6-foot-10 junior either scored or assisted on his side’s next six baskets. Happ passed out of double teams to set up 3-pointers by Davison and redshirt freshman Aleem Ford, and then he capped the run with a jumper that gave Wisconsin a 62-51 lead with 4:34 to play.
—Field Level Media