Blowouts are boring. The No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers (11-2, 3-0 B1G) take down their arch-rival, the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-7, 0-3 B1G), 63-60 from inside the Kohl Center. Make it six straight wins for Bucky!
The win puts Wisconsin at 3-0 to open up Big Ten play for the first time since the 2014-15 season. UW has beaten the Gophers 14 of the last 16 times they’ve played and UW now leads the all-time series 106-104 over their rival.
Chucky Hepburn had a career-high five steals, his fifth steal of the game secured the win for the Badgers. Hepburn also finished with 16 points and four assists.
Steven Crowl finished with 17 points and five rebounds and Connor Essegian finished with 11 points and four rebounds.
The Badgers had to play a majority of the game without Tyler Wahl who rolled his ankle early in the first half and didn’t return to the game. I don’t want to speculate too much, but it sounds like it’s not a serious injury.
Minnesota did outrebound Wisconsin 40-24, but the biggest difference came in turnovers. The Gophers coughed up the ball 20 times that led to 21 points for UW and the Badgers only had nine turnovers.
Wisconsin had to test their depth once Wahl went down and Sophomore Markus Ilver game the Badgers 11 decent minutes and Junior Carter Gilmore was forced into playing 30 minutes due to the Wahl injury and Crowl battling first half foul trouble.
At the end of the day, a win is a win and there’s plenty the Badgers can learn from in this game.
The Badgers will travel to Champaign, Illinois to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini (9-4, 0-2 B1G) on Saturday, January 7th. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (Central Time) and will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
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