NCAAB: Wisconsin looks to keep rolling, hosts Wake Forest

Wisconsin will be looking to build on a successful holiday tournament run when it hosts Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night in Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin (5-1) is coming off a third-place finish in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, losing only to then-No. 3 Kansas 69-68 in overtime on a last-second putback.

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Wake Forest (6-1) routed Hampton 97-70 on Saturday behind a triple-double by Cameron Hildreth, who had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. The Demon Deacons have won two straight since a 77-75 overtime loss to Loyola Marymount in the final of the Jamaica Classic.

The Badgers opened their tournament with a 43-42 win over Dayton, despite making only one of their last 17 shots, then bounced back from the disappointing loss to defending national champion Kansas with a 64-59 victory over USC on Friday.

Kansas coach Bill Self was impressed with Wisconsin, who returned three starters but lost leading scorer Johnny Davis to the NBA.

“They had outplayed us totally, and then obviously we make two plays at the end of regulation and end of overtime. They basically gave us the win,” Self said. “We were not the best team today.”

Chucky Hepburn, 5-for-33 in his previous three games, hit 7 of 13 shots against USC for a team-high 17 points, icing the game with a late steal and lay-in.

“Every player goes through rough spots,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “You’re not going to play on a high level like he has all the time. There’s going to be downs and peaks and valleys.”

After scoring just three points against Dayton, Tyer Wahl bounced back for 23 points and 10 boards against Kansas, and 14 points and nine rebounds versus USC. Wahl leads the Badgers with 14.0 points and 7.7 boards per game this season.

Freshman guard Connor Essegian, who had 16 points in his first three games this season, scored in double figures in all three tournament games, finishing with 42 points, while going 9-for-17 from beyond the arc.

The defensive-minded Badgers are 68-8 under Gard when holding opponents under 60 points, including 5-0 this season.

Wake Forest, averaging 81.7 points per game, has four players scoring in double figures, led by Tyree Appleby at 17.9 per game. Daivien Williamson adds 12.2, with Andrew Carr at 12.0 and Hildreth at 11.9 to go along with a team-leading 6.6 rebounds per contest.

Wake Forest shot 54.3 percent against Hampton, including 15 of 30 from beyond the arc, and had a 42-8 advantage in points in the paint.

“Overall, I liked how we played, and you know, we have a tough part of our schedule coming up,” Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said. “So, we have to get ready to play at Wisconsin on Tuesday.”

–Field Level Media

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