MADISON – There’s just something about the second half that meshes well with the University of Wisconsin.
No.15 Wisconsin shot over 50 percent for its fourth straight second half, coming out of the locker room on a 13-2 run and used that as a catalyst in an 82-55 victory over Penn State at the Kohl Center.
Bronson Koenig (20 points), Vitto Brown (16) and Ethan Happ (14) all reached double figures for the Badgers (17-3, 6-1 Big Ten), which kept pace with Maryland at the top of the Big Ten conference by shooting 55.6 percent in the second half to beat the Nittany Lions for the ninth straight time.
Leading by three points coming out of intermission, Wisconsin fed the ball to Happ in the low post, as the sophomore scored seven of his points in the first four minutes by attacking the low post and the Penn State freshmen. The shots poured in from there.
Averaging 1.37 points per possession through the first 12 minutes of the second half, the Badgers got production from seven different players over that stretch and a lift from Khalil Iverson off the bench. The sophomore slammed home an alley-oop slam from Koenig off an inbounds pass and hit only his second 3-pointer of the season three possessions later to push the lead to 21 with 9:21 remaining.
Thirteenth in the conference in scoring offense and field goal percentage, Penn State (11-10, 3-5) was red hot in the opening half. Hitting seven of its first 11 shots, the Nittany Lions shot 52.2 percent (12 of 23) and went 6 of 10 from 3-point range.
When Wisconsin heated up, the Nittany Lions cooled down, missing 11 of their first 13 shots in the second half and shot just 26.9 percent (7 of 26).
Wisconsin shot under 42 percent in an opening half for the fifth time in conference play (39.3 percent), but led at the break based on making more free throws (10) than Penn State attempted (four). UW finished 21-for-29 from the line, while Penn State finished 8-for-12.
Wisconsin travels to New York City this weekend to take on Rutgers at Madison Square Garden Saturday.
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