In what many people thought would be Wisconsin Basketball’s first real test of the season, the Badgers easily dispatched the Yale Bulldogs 89-61. Even though Yale was without star point guard Makai Mason and starting forward Jordan Bruner it was an impressive performance for the Badgers. They led from the opening whistle, and never looked back.
The Badgers were led in scoring by Khalil Iverson with 17 points. Ethan Happ finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Andy Van Vliet had 13 points, D’Mitrik Trice had 12, Brad Davison had 8, and Aleem Ford and Kobe King tacked on 7 each.
Spacing and Ball Movement Looks Good
Both South Carolina State and Yale were undersized and overmatched defensively. But Wisconsin’s ball movement and spacing still looked really good. Against Yale, Wisconsin moved the ball crisply and made extra passes against both man and zone defenses. It led to a lot of open looks. It is a stark difference from last season, when the Badgers constantly played isolation basketball with Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig, and Ethan Happ.
Khalil Iverson Breakout Game
Badger Basketball is back
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) November 12, 2017
Iverson has always had the athleticism to be an impact player on both ends of the court. Coming into this game, he was a lock down defender with a high motor that never looked assertive or comfortable on offense. That changed today. Iverson scored a career-high 17 points on 8-9 shooting. He had a beautiful ball fake and drive that led to a dunk. He had a few great transition finishes. He had good touch in the post. He had beautiful drives and dishes to Charles Thomas and Happ. But above all, Iverson finally looked comfortable with the ball. He is more skilled than he was last season, and he knows it. Let’s see if he can build off this great performance on Thursday against Xavier.
Balanced Scoring Propels Badgers
Last season, it was Happ, Hayes, or Koenig always leading the team in scoring. This season, it can be anyone on any given night. Against South Carolina State, Happ had 20 points, Andy Van Vliet had 18, and Brevin Pritzl had 17. Tonight, it was Khalil Iverson leading the way. This team has a lot of different players that can score. In fact, all nine of their regular rotation players today entered the scoring column.
Ethan Happ Stuggles From the Line
Although his form looks better, the result from the free throw line has not changed for Happ. After struggling from the line all of last season with a 50% mark, Happ was just 4-8 today. Against South Carolina State, he was 4-9. Last season, his free throw shooting kept him off the court at the end of close games. The Badgers can’t afford to have him on the bench this season. Hopefully he can get it together.