UW Runs Away in Second Half

Despite trailing by nine at halftime, the Badgers seize control in the second half, outscoring Georgia 45-17 in the final 20 minutes to avoid the upset, winning 68-49.

MADISON — Basketball is a game of runs and Wisconsin's 68-49 victory over Georgia Saturday was a perfect example of that.

The Badgers and Bulldogs came out playing neck-and-neck. But then sparked by freshman guard Zac Swansey's seven first-half points off the bench, Georgia closed out the half on a 12-3 run to take a 32-23 lead at halftime.

Wisconsin came out playing out-of-sync and the play at the guard position was the reason why. Point guard Trevon Hughes was struggling —shooting 2-for-11 in the first half with four turnovers, and Michael Flowers shot just 1-of-5 off the bench in the first half

Still, Georgia head coach Dennis Felton knew a nine-point lead at halftime wasn't close to enough.

"I told our team the second half would be an adventure because Wisconsin certainly would make several runs at us," Georgia head coach Dennis Felton said.

The Badgers didn't wait long, coming out knowing that changes that had to make.

"We knew we weren't playing our best basketball," senior forward Brian Butch said. "We knew what we needed to do. We knew we were settling for too many shots that we usually don't take."

To open up the second half, Wisconsin went on a 9-0 run to tie the game back up at 32-32. The biggest difference after halftime: Hughes' performance. After struggling in the first half, Hughes came out and scored five of Wisconsin's points on that first run.

"The momentum changed," said Hughes, who finished with a game-high 18 points. "It just made the whole team come together."

However, the Badgers were unable to regain the lead at that point, as the Bulldogs went back on a run themselves to go up 43-47. That is, until Wisconsin finished the game with one last run.

About midway through the second half, Flowers knocked down a 3-pointer to spark a 27-6 Wisconsin run to end the game.

The second half surge was simply a matter of moving the ball better than in the first half.

"In the first half, we settled for bad shots, or not our best shots," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. "By moving the ball better and better spacing and the guards making better decisions, we were able to shoot a much better percentage.

"You got to be patient," Ryan added. "You got to take what the defense gives you."

While Flowers' second-half shooting helped put the Bulldogs away, it was everything else he provided the Badgers that won the game.

"What stands out to me is the 10 rebounds," said Flowers' teammate Joe Krabbenhoft, who finished with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists himself. "Mike is such a dynamic scorer he's going to find ways to get the ball in the hoop, but 10 rebounds from a guy who is undersized and underweight … that inspires the team."

While Saturday was a rollercoaster game in terms of runs, it certainly won't be the last time the Badgers experience an up-and-down game this season.

"It is a game of runs," Ryan said. "That will be said a few more times this year."

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