The Wisconsin Badgers had to dig a little deeper on their bench on Wednesday night but eventually pulled away to beat McNeese State 83-63 at the Kohl Center.
The Badgers were short-handed to start, playing with old Kobe King who injured his ankle in practice on Monday. Then they had to deal with Nate Reuvers foul trouble for much of the game.
With the Badgers off to a slow start, coach Greg Gard went to his bench and called on the likes of Tyler Wahl and Walt McGrory. McGrory is a walk-on and one of his biggest roles is testing the starters in practice as a member of the scout team.
McGrory had combined for just 11 points in 22 games in his first two seasons, hadn’t played in the Badgers first two games. But he set a personal best with 24 minutes and a career high 9 points last night.
It was McGrory and Brad Davison who supplied most of the first half firepower. Davison finished with a season high 24-points, making 3 of 4 three-pointers, 7 of 8 shots overall and a perfect 7 of 7 at the free throw line.
Aleem Ford also picked up three fouls in the first half but finished with 16 points. Brevin Pritzl added 13 points and Reuvers finished with 10 points and four rebounds but played just 20 minutes because of foul trouble.
Wahl had three points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. D’Mitrik Trice, who couldn’t buy a basket in the first half, scored all eight of his points in the second.
The Badgers led by three points at the half, but started the second half by hitting 7 of 8 three-pointers and 13 of 15 shots overall. That increased their lead to 71-52 and the Badgers were in control.
Sha’Markus Kennedy had 20 points and five rebounds to lead McNeese State.
The Badgers (2-1) are off until Sunday when they host rival Marquette at the Kohl Center.