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Wisconsin basketball: Badgers defeat Xavier in 77-68 road win

In their first road test of the 2018-19 season, the Wisconsin Badgers went into the Cintas Center in Cincinnati and outdueling the Xavier Musketeers in a 77-68 win on Tuesday night.

The trio of Ethan Happ, D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison scored 71 of the team’s 77 points on the evening. Happ recorded a double-double on the night with a game-high 30 points and 13 rebounds, plus five assists.

The guard duo of Trice and Davison supplemented the Wisconsin All-American big man. Trice again eclipsed a career-high by tallying 22 points and also connected on all five three-point attempts (seven of 11 from the field overall). The redshirt sophomore guard also contributed five rebounds and five assists each.

Playing 38 minutes, Davison knocked down four of six three-point attempts and shot 7-of-12 overall to record 19 points of his own for Wisconsin (2-0) in the win. He also contributed six rebounds, three assists and this not-so-subtle gesture after drilling a three-pointer in the second half.

This obviously was a callback by Davison from last year’s Wisconsin-Xavier match-up at the Kohl Center when the now-departed J.P. Macura performed the Florida “chomp” to the Badger faithful. Of course, Florida beat UW 84-83 in the Sweet 16 during the 2016-17 on a last-second three-pointer.

Only two other Badgers scored (Khalil Iverson with four points, Kobe King with two) on the evening.

Forward Naji Marshall notched a double-double of his own on Tuesday night for Xavier (2-1), contributing a team-high 24 points on 10 of 15 shooting with 12 rebounds. Guard Quentin Goodin scored 13 points for the Musketeers but only hit on five of 18 attempts from the field.

Overall, Wisconsin shot 50 percent from the field (31-of 62) thanks to a hot second half, where it hit 62.1 percent of its field goal attempts (18 of 29). Thanks to Trice and Davison, the Badgers went over 50 percent from three-point range as well, shooting 9-of-16 from deep.

UW also outrebounded Xavier 40-32, with the Badgers grabbing 12 offensive boards. The team also only turned over the ball seven times but dished out 14 assists in the win.

With 6:50 remaining in the game, Wisconsin built up its biggest lead, 18 points, after a Davison layup made it 65-47. Xavier pushed back, bringing it back within a two possession game at 74-68 with 27 seconds remaining. For the game, UW only hit six of 13 attempts from the charity stripe.

However, the Badgers would hold on for the win to snap Xavier’s 41-game home non-conference winning streak to kickoff the Gavitt Tipoff Games—the annual showdown between the Big Ten and Big East conferences.

At one point in the first half, Wisconsin led by as much as 11 points but took a 30-28 advantage into halftime after a late 16-4 run by Xavier. Happ recorded 12 points, six rebounds and three assists in the first 20 minutes, while Trice stayed hot from three-point range—hitting all three of his attempts on way to 11 points and four rebounds.

Both Wisconsin and Xavier shot under 40 percent in the first half (39.4 and 38.7 percent, respectively). The Badgers connected on four of its eight three-point attempts, however, while Xavier could only hit three of 14 from deep (21.4 percent).

Wisconsin continues its season on Saturday night with an evening tilt at the Kohl Center against Houston Baptist. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT on BTN.

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