Wisconsin Freshmen Trio Leads the Way in First Game in Australia

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 25: Khalil Iverson
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 25: Khalil Iverson /

The Wisconsin Badgers opened play in Australia Saturday morning. The game was their third of a five-game trip down under. The team saw a lot production from the Wisconsin freshmen trio in their win over the Hawthorne Magic.

The Wisconsin freshmen trio of Kobe King, Brad Davison and Nate Reuvers combined for 31 points in the Badgers 75-68 victory over the Hawthorne Magic. This was the third game of the trip and first one in Australia.

I mentioned it after game one that I was very impressed with King.  The full freshman trio played well for Wisconsin on Saturday.

As a journalist, I know freshmen interviews can be difficult. King sounded very smart after the win over the Breakers. He then added a great performance for the Badgers against the Magic.

King got the start alongside with D’Mitrik Trice in the backcourt. Wisconsin decided to try a smaller lineup in game three as Khalil Iverson also got the nod. Reuvers and Illikainen rounded out the starting five for the basketball team.

King led all Badgers with 18 points. He went 6-8 from the field and connected on 6 of 7 from the charity stripe, which is obviously a great sign for a team that shot 64 percent last season.

One of the Wisconsin freshmen trio, Davison, had some good things to say about King. We all know King is very athletic and will score a lot of points in his Badger career. Davison said King added some offensive boards early which jump started his productive night.

"Whenever you can get out in transition it gets you confident and more comfortable. He took advantage of that today and played really well."

Everyone knows that Happ is going to be a favorite for Preseason All-American this year. The thing to look for now is production from the backcourt. That’s what the Badgers are seeing on this trip.

King is the second leading scorer at 10 ppg. Wisconsin is seeing the most points per game from Brevin Pritzil who is averaging 14.3. Pritzil dropped another seven against Hawthorne.

After dropping 15-three pointers in game two, Wisconsin used the paint in game three. They attacked and went to the line while attempting 27 free throws. Despite only making 18 of them, it’s good to see them attack the rim. Trice pointed out that’s one thing he thought they did a good job of.

"We had 27 free throw attempts I think, so we got to the rim, drew fouls and knocked down our free throws at the end of the day."

All along Davison said that was their goal coming into the game.

"It paid off today when the outside shots weren’t falling."

The UW basketball Twitter page found a live-stream for the game which gave fans an opportunity to see the young Badgers. It’s nice to see them bonding and playing together right now.

Wisconsin built a 14 point lead in the second half.  However, the Magic found a way to come within 46-42 at the break.  But, the Badgers then limited them to just 8 points in the third quarter on their way to victory.

Trice was up on the leader board with 11 points along with three rebounds, two assists and five steals. Iverson finished with 10 points. Happ and Davison both had nine points.

Seven different Badgers have seen themselves in double digits in at least one game on this trip.

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It’s good to see the distribution of the basketball. The basketball team isn’t waiting until camp to find an identity, they are bonding quite well together now down under. It’s smart for Greg Gard to continue to use a different lineup each game.

There are a lot of minutes to fill from last season. Right now it seems Happ, Trice, Pritzil and Iverson have locked minutes. There are then about seven Badgers who will be competing for regular play. The Wisconsin trio of freshmen will have every opportunity this season. What better way to do that then play in five exhibition games overseas.