IOWA CITY, Iowa — The matchup between the resurgent Badgers and Hawkeyes lived up to its billing—with Wisconsin sophomore D’Mitrik Trice stepping up to hit the game’s biggest basket after star Ethan Happ fouled out.
Trice scored 20 points, including a crucial 3 with 20 seconds left, and 22nd-ranked Wisconsin held off No. 14 Iowa 72-66 on Friday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Ethan Happ had 13 points, seven boards and five assists for the Badgers (7-1), who handed the Hawkeyes their first loss of the season in a back-and-forth affair.
“To come in here and to be able to get this one in league play in November, I think it shows some signs that we’re trending in the right direction,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said.
With the Badgers up 65-63, Trice—who led the nation at 60 percent on 3s entering play—hit his 3-pointer just after Happ picked up his fifth foul. Jordan Bohannon answered with a quick 3 for Iowa (6-1), but Wisconsin was able to seal it at the line.
The presence of Trice, who missed the last 23 games in 2017-18 because of a foot injury, has keyed Wisconsin’s hot start after a disappointing season a year ago.
“With him out, it was kind of tough because we relied on pretty much Brad (Davison) and myself to kind of bail us out of situations,” Happ said about Trice. “In that situation where we needed a big bucket, he took it and made it.”
Freshman Joe Wieskamp blocked Trice’s 3-point try and turned it into a 3-point play and a 61-60 Iowa lead on other end. Brevin Pritzl got open in the corner though, burying a huge 3 with 1:35 left to put Wisconsin back up by 2. Happ then got around Iowa’s Luka Garza for a scoop to make it 65-61 with 51 seconds left.
Iowa opened the second half on a 16-9 run and led by as much as eight, but Wisconsin had it back even at 54-all with just over 8 minutes left.
Tyler Cook had 19 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the Hawkeyes, who were just 6 of 24 on 3s.
“We didn’t some things down the stretch that we wanted to do. We also did some things we wanted to do...just didn’t make the basket. That’s frustrating,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.