After three straight wins to begin Wisconsin’s exhibition trip in Australia, the team suffered its first loss at the hands of Melbourne United, 90-89.
An Ethan Happ steal led to a Khalil Iverson dunk, putting the Badgers up 89-85 with 46.9 seconds remaining. The four-point lead would prove to be not enough, however, as Melbourne United scored a go ahead 3-pointer with 14 seconds left after forcing a shot clock violation on the Badgers’ offense.
To end the game, and give Wisconsin its first loss, redshirt sophomore Brevin Pritzl had his 3-point shot blocked by the man who hit the 3-pointer just a few seconds prior, Jerry Evans.
Badgers head coach Greg Gard talked about how his team needed a game like this.
“We were in situations throughout the game that we haven’t been in,” Gard said. “End of game and quarter situations, foul trouble we had to deal with. We did a lot of learning, which is exactly why you come on trips like this, to put yourself in some adverse situations and see how guys react on the fly.
“I think this will be monumental for us in terms of growing. There were things that we talked about from the previous games that came to play in this game. We’ll benefit from this.”
Leading Wisconsin in scoring was sophomore guard D’Mitrik Trice, putting in 19 points while going 4-of-6 from behind the arc and adding five rebounds and four assists in the process. Freshman Kobe King added 18 points for the second time on this Australian tour, while junior Ethan Happ scored 14 and junior Andy Van Vliet was the fourth member of the team to score in double digits with his 11.
Gard talked more about the game, which featured six ties and 12 lead changes. He said the team needed to slow things down, not just offensively, but defensively as well. The third-year head coach mentioned how he wants to play inside-out down the stretches of games.
Three-point shots were nearly mastered by both teams in the contest, as Wisconsin shot 12-of-20, while Melbourne United went 12-of-24. Happ talked after the game about how it was officiated, noting how physical the play was.
“This was similar to the Big Ten season,” Happ said. “The referees let a lot of stuff go and these are grown men. I think it’s a little more physical over here than during the Big Ten, but it’s just something we’ve got to play through.”
The Badgers’ final game in Australia will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Sydney – which means a 4:30 a.m. start CT – on Tuesday at Bankstown Basketball Stadium.
If fans are awake early enough, a live stream of the game will be available here.