Memo to any team facing Greg Gard’s University of Wisconsin basketball team this season:

Let the Badgers hang around for too long, fail to put them away early, and you are living dangerously.

A veteran Saint Mary’s team learned that lesson in the championship game of the Maui Invitational on Wednesday.

Led by Tyler Wahl and Johnny Davis, UW wiped out a 10-point second half deficit to stun the previously unbeaten Gaels, 61-55.

“I think we proved that we can hang with anyone,” Wahl said when asked about UW’s victories over Texas A&M, Houston and Saint Mary’s. “To come out here today and be behind the entire game and end up on top, it proves that we’re a legitimate team and not the young kids on the block.”

UW trailed, 37-27, with 15 minutes 58 seconds left but outscored the Gaels, 34-18, the rest of the way. Davis had 11 points and Wahl had 10 in that run.

Davis, who scored 30 points in the semifinal victory over No. 11 Houston, led UW with 20 points and seven rebounds Wednesday and was named the tournament MVP.

Wahl added 18 points, 12 in the second half, five rebounds, four blocks and a steal. He hit 6 of 9 field-goal attempts and 6 of 6 free-throw attempts.

“At the start, we were playing a little too much one-on-one basketball,” Wahl said. “When we started to swing it, playing our game instead of their game, that’s when we really started to roll.”

Wahl got the ball on the left wing with 10 seconds left on the shot-clock, calmly backed down forward Dan Fotu and hit the shot with a second left on the shot clock.

“The shot-clock was going down and I’ve been getting good one-on-one matchups,” said Wahl, who made his final four field-goal attempts. “They weren’t doubling so I was just playing basketball. I didn’t really plan ahead that I was going to shoot a fadeaway and it went in.”

Five other players scored between four and six points for UW, which shot just 25.0% from three-point range (3 of 12) and 37.5% overall (21 of 56).

Alex Ducas led Saint Mary’s with 13 points.

“That’s why you come to this, the best college basketball tournament in the country, to play against really good teams,” Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said. “We got to and tonight we didn’t come out on top, but I thought we played a good game against a well-coached team and group of guys.”

Wisconsin freshman guard Lorne Bowman had five points, on a 3-pointer and a drive in a span of 1 minute, 22 seconds to help UW cut the 37-27 lead to 37-32.

The three-pointer came with 15:30 left, 11 seconds after Bowman came in for Chucky Hepburn (six points, three rebounds).

The Badgers (5-1) became the first Big Ten team to win the Maui Invitational since Illinois in 2012. UW reached the title game in 2016 but lost to North Carolina.



Crowl 2-7 0-0 4, Wahl 6-9 6-6 18, Jon.Davis 7-17 5-5 20, Davison 1-10 1-2 4, Hepburn 2-5 2-2 6, Gilmore 1-1 2-2 4, Bowman 2-5 0-0 5, Carlson 0-1 0-1 0, Vogt 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-56 16-18 61.


Bowen 1-5 0-0 3, Tass 3-10 2-2 8, Johnson 6-12 0-0 12, Kuhse 3-5 2-4 8, Ducas 4-9 3-4 13, Fotu 4-5 2-2 11, Marciulionis 0-2 0-0 0, Saxen 0-1 0-0 0, Mullins 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-50 9-12 55.

Halftime—Saint Mary’s (Cal) 31-25. 3-point goals—Wisconsin 3-12 (Jon.Davis 1-1, Bowman 1-2, Davison 1-7, Crowl 0-1, Hepburn 0-1), Saint Mary’s (Cal) 4-15 (Ducas 2-5, Fotu 1-1, Bowen 1-5, Johnson 0-1, Kuhse 0-1, Marciulionis 0-1, Mullins 0-1). Rebounds—Wisconsin 32 (Crowl, Jon.Davis 7), Saint Mary’s (Cal) 29 (Tass 7). Assists—Wisconsin 4 (Crowl, Jon.Davis, Davison, Hepburn 1), Saint Mary’s (Cal) 9 (Kuhse 3). Total fouls—Wisconsin 19, Saint Mary’s (Cal) 21. Attendance—2,901 (12,000).


Recommended for you