Wisconsin came out firing on all cylinders in its second game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, using the hot hands of Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ to dominate the Georgetown Hoyas 73-57 and advance to the final on Wednesday night.
Sophomore forward Ethan Happ had himself a day/night to remember, as he poured in 19 points to go with 15 rebounds. Koenig led all scorers with 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting and grabbed six rebounds of his own.
Just like in the quarterfinal against Tennessee, that hot start cooled off thanks to turnovers and some hot shooting by the Hoyas. Wisconsin committed eight of its 13 turnovers in the first half alone, resulting in eight points for the Hoyas.
Wisconsin countered that with a massive 6-1 advantage in second chance points, as the Badgers owned the offensive glass 7-1 in the first half. That advantage continued in the second half as UW owned the glass overall and on the offensive side of things. So much so that UW’s 20 offensive rebounds were 1 fewer than Georgetown’s entire output for the night.
The rebounding advantage came in handy in the second half, as the Badgers pulled away quickly out of the intermission and never looked back. It took just over five minutes for a three-point Wisconsin lead to balloon to a 10-point margin.
Eventually, the Badgers would go up by 11 with 6:07 to play in the game and never go back under a double-digit lead.
- Simply put, I’ve never seen anything like what the Wisconsin Badgers did on the boards on Tuesday night. Wisconsin just dominated on the glass in all ways, holding an overall advantage of 50-21 and a 20-1 advantage on the offensive glass. That translated in 19 second chance points for the Badgers, who also ate up the Hoyas in the paint to the tune of a 38-16 points in the paint advantage. By the time Nigel Hayes grabbed an uncontested offensive rebound on a missed Khalil Iverson free throw, you could tell the Hoyas had just flat-out given up.
- It shouldn’t be surprising to see that the Badgers resurgence has coincided with the emergence of Ethan Happ. He was amazing in all facets of the game on Tuesday night, and because he was killing it down low, things opened up more for the Badgers on the perimeter. It was so much fun watching Happ just put on a clinic in low-post moves and passing at times.
- That said, all of the open space the Badgers had because of Happ’s performance down low didn’t translate in to added points all that often. Wisconsin shot just 22.7 percent from beyond the arc (5-22), and most of the missed shots were wide open ones too. If the Badgers want to win a championship on Maui, they’re going to have to make teams respect their play inside and outside because they simply can’t and won’t dominate the boards like they did tonight likely for the rest of the season.
Wisconsin will take on North Carolina for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational championship on Wednesday night at 8:30p.m. CT.