Badgers Battle 4 Atlantis Game One Recap

The Badgers beat the Flyers in a scrappy battle.
Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

The men’s college basketball has moved into the end of November which for many big-time teams means some form of a tournament. The Wisconsin Badgers participated in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis which began on Wednesday, November 23. The tournament started off with the Badgers taking on the highly talented Dayton Flyers. Here is a recap of how the opening game went for the Badgers.

The Badgers have not looked so great through their first three games of the season and they had a big test against the Flyers. Coming into this game neither team racked up many points in their early season games. However, their defenses are both stellar. The Badgers and Flyers allow only 51 and 55 points per game respectively. From the get-go, it appeared this would be a low-scoring, defense-dominant game and it was exactly that.

First Half

Jordan Davis of the Badgers got the scoring started with a layup at the 18.58 mark. There was 2:17 that ran off the clock before more points were put on the board by the Flyers to tie the game at two. From there it looked like Dayton had a chance to jump out to a big lead and they went on a 7-0 run to take a 7-2 lead.

Wisconsin did not score again until the 13:48 mark when Connor Essegian made a three-pointer to cut Dayton’s lead to 7-5. From that point on it was the Essegian show as he scored the following eight points to give the Badgers the lead. With his effort, he pushed the Badgers up to a 13-11 lead.

After falling behind 7-2 early on the Badgers went on a 21-7 run to take a 23-14 lead into halftime. It is rare for a team to score 23 and lead big at the break, but they did it behind their excellent defense and Dayton’s sloppy shooting.

Second Half

The second half started with much more offensive production. Despite Dayton scoring 10 points in the first six minutes, it was not enough to keep it close. The Badgers grabbed a 34-24 lead at the 13:45 mark as they shot 4-9 to begin the half. Unfortunately, that was the start of a very rough stretch. The Flyers went on an 8-0 run over the next 3:07 to make it 34-32.

Then both offenses ceased altogether. Over the next 6:43, the Flyers went on a 7-5 run to tie the game at 39 with 4:56 remaining. Tyler Wahl immediately responded with his first three points of the game to give the Badgers the lead which they did not relinquish.

The game was capped off by an excellent block by Max Klesmit in the final seconds. In the biggest moment, Klesmit recorded the Badgers’ lone block of the game to seal the win.

Over the final 11:39, the Badgers and Flyers shot 2-19 and 4-11 respectively. One of the Badgers’ biggest drawbacks is that they spend way too much time behind the three-point line. Of their 19 shots in that final 11:39, 10 were three’s and they made only one.

Somehow the Badgers came away with a hard-fought 43-42 victory.

Player of the Game

It was a horrific game for the Badgers starters. The stars who headline this Wisconsin team did not come even close to making the cut for player of the game. Steven Crowl had the best game of any starter with 3-11 FG and 3-4 FT for nine points as well as seven rebounds and four assists. The other four starters shot a combined 4-30 (13.3%) FG and 1-12 (8.3%) 3PT for 10 points.

The player who deserves this award is Essegian who shot 3-6 FG, 2-4 3PT and 5-5 FT for a team-high 13 points. He got 20 minutes on the court and took full advantage of it. His presence is ultimately what kept this team in the game.

Wrap Up

Three-point shooting was one of the biggest drawbacks for both teams. The badgers went 6-27 (22.2%) and the Flyers went 4-27 (14.8%). It is hard to have a successful offense when the majority of the time is spent hoisting up deep balls.

Turnovers also need to be pointed out. Both teams racked up double-digit turnovers with 10 for the Badgers and 17 for the Flyers. There were not a whole ton of points off the turnovers. The Badgers got eight points off 17 turnovers while the Flyers got only six points off 10 turnovers. What is really interesting is that Wisconsin did not get any points off seven second-half turnovers.

A game like this for both teams is very rare. For the Badgers, dating back to the 2002-03 season, they have never won a game when scoring just 43 points. The closest they came was when they beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers 45-44 on January 26, 2013.

It is a similar story for the Flyers. Dating back to the 2002-03 season they have not lost when allowing only 43. The closest they came to this result was when they lost 49-41 to the Temple Owls on February 24, 2010.

Both teams still have two games remaining in this tournament. The Badgers move into the winners’ bracket while the Flyers move into the losers’ bracket. The Badgers have their toughest task of the season in game two as they go head-to-head against the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks. The game tips off Thursday at 10:00 CST.

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