MADISON — Nigel Hayes scored 20 points, Zak Showalter added 18 and No. 14 Wisconsin used an active start on the defensive end to build an early lead and defeat Rutgers 72-52 on Tuesday night, December 27th.
Hayes scored 12 points in the first half, when the Baadgers (12-2) opened with a 16-4 run over the first 12 minutes to take control in both team’s Big Ten opener.
Wisconsin needed the cushion after the Scarlet Knights (11-3) rallied from a 20-point deficit with 14 minutes left.
Rutgers forced turnovers and went on a 3-point shooting spree, hitting five from behind the arc in a 5-minute stretch capped by Nigel Johnson’s 3 with 8:19 left to get within 53-44.
The Badgers clamped down defensively from there, holding Rutgers to two field goals over the next 5-plus minutes.
Mike Williams led Rutgers with 18 points. Ethan Happ finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Wisconsin.