Wisconsin beats Tennessee after trailing in second half

Wisconsin’s Zak Showalter goes up for a shot in front of Tennessee’s Shembari Phillips in the second half of the Badgers’ 74-62 win over the Volunteers on Monday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

LAHAINA — In a game of runs, Wisconsin came up with the decisive one.

The Badgers, ranked 16th in the nation by The Associated Press, rallied after trailing midway through the second half and beat Tennessee 74-62 on Monday in the first game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.

The Badgers were behind 46-44 with less than 12 minutes left before going on a 15-6 run, and led by as many as 14 in the second half.

Wisconsin (3-1) will face Georgetown today in the semifinals. Tennessee will play No. 13 Oregon in a consolation game.

“Always trying to get the first game, it’s always the one you want to get under your belt,” said Badgers coach Greg Gard. “I’m proud of our guys, how they battled back. Obviously we’ve got a lot of things we need to clean up and a lot of things to get better at, but the resiliency and the fortitude that these guys play with — it obviously makes them who they are.”

WISCONSIN Badgers 56

Wisconsin scored the first 12 points of the game and led 26-9 after a 3-pointer by Bronson Koenig, but Tennessee (1-2) had closed within 40-32 by halftime and opened the second half with a 10-0 run capped by Grant Williams’ jumper with 16:19 to play.

Neither team led by more than two for the next six minutes, until Nigel Hayes hit a 3-pointer to give the Badgers a 51-46 lead with 10:03 to play. Koenig’s 3-pointer made it 56-48 with 7:44 to go, and the lead was not less than six the rest of the way.

Koenig finished with 21 points, and Hayes added 17 along with a game-high 10 rebounds. Ethan Happ had 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field.

Wisconsin had a 36-25 advantage in rebounds.

“I thought they showed some terrific mental toughness fighting back into it,” said Vols coach Rick Barnes.

TENNESSEE Volunteers 95

“If you look at the game, the ebbs and flows of the game would go to the rebounding. When they had control of it they were really rebounding. When we were getting back in the game and actually took the lead, it was because of rebounding.”

Shembari Phillips scored 16 points for Tennessee.

The Badgers shot 27-for-48 from the field (56.3 percent), while holding the Vols to 25-for-62 (40.3 percent).

“I thought they did a pretty good job of getting up and pressuring us, trying to speed us up and, I mean, it’s early in the year and it was a good test for us,” Koenig said. “Just kind of showed us what we need to work on, slow it down, not let them speed us up and play at our pace, control the tempo.”

Wisconsin committed 18 turnovers, while Tennessee had 10. The Vols had just a 15-12 advantage in points off turn-overs, however.

Happ, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, had scored a total of 23 points in the first three games of the season.

“I have been talking with the coaching staff about doing things more efficiently down low and getting in front of guys rather than flashing up next to them,” Happ said.

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

TENNESSEE (62)

Alexander 1-3 0-0 2, Bowden 1-3 0-0 2, Phillips 5-9 3-3 16, Hubbs 6-11 0-0 12, Turner 2-8 0-0 5, Schofield 3-5 0-0 7, Fulkerson 0-0 0-0 0, Evans 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 3-7 0-0 6, Bone 0-2 0-0 0, Mostella 4-13 3-3 12, Parker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-62 6-6 62.

WISCONSIN (74)

Brown 2-4 0-0 4, Hayes 4-8 6-9 17, Happ 6-7 4-7 16, Showalter 4-8 0-0 9, Koenig 9-15 0-0 21, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Illikainen 0-1 0-0 0, Trice 1-2 3-3 5, Hill 0-1 0-0 0, Iverson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 27-48 13-19 74.

Halftime–Wisconsin 40-32. 3-Point Goals–Tennessee 6-19 (Phillips 3-4, Schofield 1-2, Mostella 1-4, Turner 1-4, Bowden 0-1, Hubbs 0-1, Evans 0-1, Williams 0-2), Wisconsin 7-19 (Hayes 3-3, Koenig 3-9, Showalter 1-4, Brown 0-1, Trice 0-1, Hill 0-1). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Tennessee 19 (Alexander 6), Wisconsin 32 (Hayes 10). Assists–Tennessee 10 (Schofield, Turner 2), Wisconsin 16 (Koenig 4). Total Fouls–Tennessee 17, Wisconsin 12. A–2,400 (2,400).

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