Wed, 26 Jan 2022

No. 23 Wisconsin renews in-state rivalry with Marquette

Field Level Media
03 Dec 2021, 12:40 GMT+10

Johnny Davis will look to break the 20-point mark for the fourth time in five games as No. 23 Wisconsin hosts Marquette on Saturday in Madison, Wis.

Davis has been on an offensive tear, averaging 21.5 points through his past four games. He is averaging 19.3 on the season and is shooting 43.0 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from 3-point range.

The Badgers (6-1) are coming off a 70-66 win against Georgia Tech on Wednesday night. Brad Davison had a team-high 27 points, and Davis added 15 and six rebounds. Tyler Wahl contributed nine points, and Chucky Hepburn scored seven.

"You know this group, and I've said it many times, it's been extremely delightful to coach," coach Greg Gard said. "We make mistakes, but they play so hard and they enjoy being around each other."

Hepburn, along with Lorne Bowman, have been vital to the Badgers' early success. The freshman duo helped Wisconsin win the Maui Invitational, and Hepburn made history earlier this season on Nov. 9, becoming the first true freshman to start in a season opener since 2001.

"If they have a miscue, they bounce right back and they take coaching and want to learn and want to be better," Gard said. "They're both very team-oriented. They'll do whatever they can to help their team win."

Although the Badgers have won six of their first seven games, they have struggled from behind the arc. Wisconsin has shot at least 30 percent from 3-point range in just three games this season and has shot under 25 percent twice.

Marquette (7-1) will look to extend its win streak to three games after it beat Jackson State 83-54 on Tuesday night. Oso Ighodaro had 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench to record his first collegiate double-double. Reserve Olivier-Maxence Prosper added 11 points, and four starters scored eight to lead the Golden Eagles to their fifth home win.

"I'm just getting comfortable with the system and just finding ways to impact the game," Ighodaro said. "I may not have a stat line like this every game, but I try to impact the game every time I get in."

With just eight games under his belt with Marquette, coach Shaka Smart has led the Golden Eagles to their best start since the 2011-12 season.

The Golden Eagles have been extremely efficient offensively and are shooting 44.5 percent from the field. Smart has also heavily relied on his bench to provide a spark, and it has, as reserves have combined to average 40.5 points in the wins against Northern Illinois and Jackson State.

Much like the Badgers, Marquette has also gotten significant help from its freshmen. Kam Jones was a key contributor during the Charleston Classic, posting 18 points against Ole Miss and 12 against West Virginia. Stevie Mitchell has also been impressive as of late, averaging 10.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists over the past two games.

Saturday's game will make the 128th all-time meeting between the in-state rivals. Wisconsin holds a 68-59 record against the Golden Eagles, but Marquette has won three of the last four matchups.

--Field Level Media

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