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81 Days to B1G Basketball: Wisconsin Splits First Two Games in Australia

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The Badgers are 1-1 in Australia so far.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Wisconsin vs Villanova Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin made the trip over from New Zealand to Australia and have played two more games since we’ve last covered the Badgers in the countdown.

First up for Wisconsin at the beginning of the weekend was a game against the Hawthorn Magic. In the Badgers third exhibition game, Wisconsin ultimately prevailed in a 75-68 victory. Leading the way was Kobe King, who had 18 points. Also reaching double figures were D’Mitrik Trice (11) and Khalil Iverson (10). Star Ethan Happ had 9 points and 4 rebounds in about 17 minutes of playing time.

While Wisconsin was deadly beyond the arc in their first two games, the Badgers only hit 3 of their 17 three pointers in their game against Hawthorn. Their inability to hit from outside led them to attack the rim, helping draw plenty of fouls and getting them to the line for 27 free throws. Defensively Wisconsin forced 22 Magic turnovers and had a 24-14 advantage in points off of turnovers.

Things didn’t go so well in the Badgers fourth game.

After three wins, Wisconsin entered a shootout with Melbourne United. The Badgers seemed to be in position to secure the victory with a late 89-85 lead, but Melbourne made a late bucket, forced a shot clock violation and then hit the go ahead three pointer in the closing seconds. Sealing the deal was a block of Brevin Pritzl’s three pointer at the end of regulation.

"We were in situations throughout the game that we haven't been in,” said head coach Greg Gard. "End of game and quarter situations, foul trouble we had to deal with. We did a lot of learning, which is exactly why you come on trips like this.”

The Badgers had four players that reached double figures, with D’Mitrik Trice leading the team in scoring with 19 points. Wisconsin also found their shot again, hitting 60% of their 20 three pointers. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, though, Melbourne United hit 50% of their three pointers and was nearly automatic (20 of 22) from the charity stripe.

Up next for Wisconsin will be the Sydney Kings on Tuesday. The Badgers fifth game will be their final exhibition game and will stream live early in the morning.