The No. 19/20 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) pulled off an exciting home win Tuesday night, outscoring the No. 10/11 Florida Gators (1-1) in both halves to register a 59-53 victory at the Kohl Center in Madison, WI.
OnlyGators.com breaks down the Gators’ first loss of the 2013-14 season with The Fastbreak and a Rapid Recap.
It was over when: Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson hit a pull-up jumper with 9.8 seconds remaining to push the Badgers ahead of the Gators 58-53 and put a comeback out of reach for Florida.
Significant stretch: Leading by 12 early in the game, UF allowed UW chip away at its lead before erupting on a 13-0 run that gave the home team a five-point advantage. Wisconsin completely flipped the momentum and took a three-point lead into halftime.
Standout stat: 9-of-20 (.450), which is how well the Badgers shot from beyond the arc. Though the Gators played tight defense on the three-point line early in the game, Wisconsin simply took a step back and made a number of deep triples that helped keep it on top of Florida for the entire second half.
Perfect play: With 8:04 left in the first half, UF freshman point guard Kasey Hill grabbed a rebound off a missed shot, drove cross-court and found senior forward Casey Prather with a no-look pass for an easy lay-in.
Prominent player: Gators sophomore G Michael Frazier II continued his stellar early-season shooting, going 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from downtown for a career-high 20 points off the bench. Frazier made his threes in two stretches, making three-in-a-row at one point in the first half and doubling up midway through the second half to get Florida back in the game.
Important incident: Within a matter minutes, Prather and senior F Will Yeguete went down with injuries. Prather appeared to bang his knee against a defender’s and was called for travelling, while Yeguete fell hard to the ground after grabbing a steal off a press and hurt his wrist. Both players left the court but eventually returned.
What it means: Though things looked bleak for the Gators at one point, UF played well overall. Head coach Billy Donovan’s team went into one of the toughest places to play in the nation – without three important players – and hung around with a top 25-ranked opponent. To play that well on the road against a quality team while undermanned speaks to Donovan’s coaching and the effort given by the players.
Next up: Florida will host Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The Gators may get some of their suspended players back for the game.
Check out the Florida-Wisconsin Rapid Recap…after the break!
Three-straight triples by Frazier put Florida on top early with a 16-4 lead. However, the Gators’ aggressive defense quickly disappeared and the Badgers F Sam Dekker made consecutive threes on back-to-back turnovers by UF sophomore G DeVon Walker to cut his team’s deficit to six with 10:37 left in the half.
Coming out of a timeout minutes later, UW took it to the visitors by scoring 13 unanswered points as part of a 13-2 half-ending run. Wisconsin led 29-26 at the break as Florida missed eight shots and committed two turnovers in the final 7:55.
With the Gators trailing by one just over three minutes into the second half, the Badgers stepped on the gas again and leapt out to an 11-point lead with 12:05 to play on the back of a 14-4 scoring stretch that included two more treys.
Florida quickly responded with Frazier draining two more threes as part of an 8-2 run that dropped Wisconsin’s lead to 49-44 with 7:11 left in the game.
The Gators cut their deficit to three points with five minutes left but played terrible defense back on the other end, leaving Badgers F Frank Kaminsky wide open so he could drain a big triple.
The teams mostly traded free throws from there on out. Florida senior center Patric Young got fouled while going up strong for a rebound and made 1-of-2 with 41.8 seconds left to get his team within three, but Jackson’s pull-up jumper with 9.8 seconds remaining iced the game for the hosts.
Prather finished with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while Young and Yeguete each contributed eight points. Hill was just 2-for-11 with four assists, and junior walk-on F Jacob Kurtz matched Young with six rebounds apiece.
Dekker led Wisconsin with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting.