No. 15 Xavier uses 14-4 run to dispatch Wisconsin, 80-70
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) Trevon Bluiett scored 25 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers in a decisive run over the final 1:47, to help No. 15 Xavier pull away late for an 80-70 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday night in one of the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
J.P. Macura added 20 points for the Musketeers (3-0), who won at a tough road venue following two easy home nonconference victories to open the season.
Ethan Happ led Wisconsin (2-1) with 21 points and eight assists.
Bluiett took control in the closing minutes, scoring 10 of Xavier’s final 14 points. His 3 with 1:47 left bounced high off the rim before falling through the hoop to put Xavier up for good, 69-66.
The senior pumped his arm energetically in the direction of the Musketeers’ bench as he ran back on defense. Xavier ended the game with an 11-4 run.
Bluiett, who was averaging 25.5 points coming into the night, had 21 points in the second half on 6-of-9 shooting after going 0 of 4 in the first half. He hit all 10 of his foul shots on the night.
The Badgers used an 8-1 run capped by Aleem Ford’s 3 with 4:01 left to tie the game at 64.
They had no answer for Bluiett at the end.
Xavier: Facing the Badgers on the road was a considerably tougher assignment than the blowout victories to open the season over Morehead State and Rider. The Musketeers conducted a virtual layup drill in opening 6 of 7 from the field before Wisconsin’s defense tightened and Xavier had trouble hitting outside shots. That changed in the closing minutes. The game should provide a valuable lesson for a team with a senior-laden backcourt.
Wisconsin: The Badgers went into halftime tied at 34 following a 9-0 run over the final 3:28 of the first half made all the more impressive with Happ on the bench with two fouls. Freshman Brad Davison (12 points) led the charge. He is already proving to be a defensive sparkplug, while redshirt freshman Ford added a 3 during the run. It is important experience for young players on a retooled roster looking to define roles ahead of Big Ten play.
Xavier: Hosts Hampton on Monday.
Wisconsin: Opens play in Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City on Monday against No. 25 Baylor.