Their all-time series is made up of a bunch of runs, so it’s only fitting the game between No. 17 Wisconsin and Marquette followed suit.
But the last and biggest one was ultimately the only one that mattered.
The Badgers (9-2) went on a 16-0 run in the second half at the BMO Bradley Center en route to a 93-84 victory over the Golden Eagles (7-3) on Saturday.
With the win, Wisconsin increases its all-time series lead over its I-94 rivals to 67-56, and their current win streak stands at five.
HOW THEY WON:
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard defended his title of master of the halftime speech. The Badgers came out looking like a completely different team after the break, especially on defense. They annihilated the Golden Eagles’ fast-break strategy that had worked so well through the first 20 minutes and forced them into a slower, half-court tussle that they clearly were not as comfortable with.
Katin Reinhardt’s wide-open 3-point looks were gone, Center Luke Fischer was reduced to a non-threat, and Marquette’s guards couldn’t deliver the ball past the arc.
Bad things happened when they did.
Khalil Iverson hitting 3s and doing this stuff. pic.twitter.com/MBzXgYOZDI
— Big Ten Geeks (@bigtengeeks) December 10, 2016
WHAT IT MEANS:
After losing to both Marquette and UW-Milwaukee last season, Wisconsin reclaimed some serious in-state bragging rights. Bets will settle in Madison’s favor because of it.
Deal. ?? https://t.co/R1MrYYJkdr
— ESPN Madison (@ESPNMadison) December 10, 2016
Vitto Brown played smarter, not harder, and it couldn’t have paid off more. Early on, he got stuck on Fischer, Marquette’s 7-foot center, when Ethan Happ got two quick fouls. Even though Brown gave up three inches and about 15 pounds to the Golden Eagles’ senior, he held him to just six points in the first half.
Brown chose brains over brawn on offense, too. His 38 percent shooting from beyond the arc must have been circled, highlighted and in 48-point font in the scouting report because man, did Marquette close out on him hard and fast. Brown responded, though, with a lethal sweep-and-go move we haven’t seen much of this season. He finished with 13 points.
Foul trouble was a bigger problem than usual — literally. Fischer drew a pair of fouls out of Ethan Happ two minutes into the contest, so Wisconsin played nearly the entire first half without its tallest presence. Vitto Brown was able to keep the big guy contained in Happ’s absence, but at the cost of a few fouls of his own, including one from bumping a 3-point-shooting Andrew Rowsey.
The only way that gets more painful is if Rowsey he connects on all three attempts from the charity stripe and gives his team the lead heading into the locker room. Oh wait, he did that.
WHO WAS THERE:
As per usual, two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North made the trip with the Badgers and posted up right behind the bench. This time, though, he brought along friend and Wisconsin athletics director, Barry Alvarez.
The Badgers returns home to Madison to take on Green Bay at the Kohl Center on on Wednesday. Tipoff is at 9:00 p.m. ET, and BTN will broadcast the game.