After a dismal first half against Oregon, The Badgers, down 12, used the break to make adjustments.
“A Lot of times when you get down it's ok how did you get down? Their quickness was on display. How many fast break points did they get in the first half, How many in the second,” Head Coach Bo Ryan asked? “Zero”
Wisconsin eliminated the Ducks fast-break in the second half. Meanwhile, the Badgers also took over offensively, outscoring Oregon by 20 after the break.
"That's what we talked about at halftime, we talked if we want to come back we need to come right out from the jump the first five minutes is usually when the game is decided, whichever team plays the best in that five minutes, I felt like we won that five minutes and ultimately won the game,” explained Nigel Hayes.
“We believed in each other and we cut down on transition points. For them to go from 49 points in the first half given up to 28 in the second half, that's just us playing hard solid defense a collective team effort,” said Ben Brust.
“Just think we played better defense it was just make things tough for them and it will open easier things for us and it happened to be that way,” Sam Dekker weighed in.
Senior Ben Brust hit a 3-pointer with 1:07 to play to give Wisconsin the lead for good, punching their ticket back to the Sweet 16.
“A wild sequence of events there, Sam got the rebound, hit Traevon and there was a scramble session going on and he found me in the right wing and as soon as I let it go I felt it was going down,” Brust explained.
The Badgers second half rally was thrilling and entertaining, but freshman Nigel Hayes explains the team shouldn't have been down to begin with.
“I wouldn't say remarkable I felt like that's what we expect to do. Not to be cocky or arrogant about it but we know what we're capable of as a team. We know in the first half if we didn't play up to our potential the second half we played a lot better which is why we were able to come back and win.”
“Oregon's a very good team, you could see by what they did this year. It was more than a test it was a great team and we see that as a very, very good win for us and hopefully it will give us a lot of confidence,” said Dekker.
Playing their first two games of the tourney, just an hour and a half away from campus certainly helped in that area.
“The crowd was just unbelievable. That is the best crowd I've ever played in front of especially for an NCAA tournament game, to be here in Milwaukee to get the job done in front of them, definitely helped get us going,” Brust weighed in.
Now the Badgers will have to find that spark from within as they head across the country to Anaheim, California for the Sweet 16. The last time Wisconsin earned a spot in the Elite Eight was in 2005.
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