UW closed out its exhibition season Wednesday as it defeated UW-Eau Claire 74-35 at the Kohl Center. This was the first time the two teams have squared off, and with the win, the Badgers improved to 44-4 all-time in exhibition games.
The Badger defense was the story of Wednesdays game. After taking a 38-23 lead into the half, UW held the Blugolds to only 12 points in the second stanza. In the game, Wisconsin had ten steals, forced 17 turnovers and grabbed 47 (29 defensive) rebounds to Eau Claires 21. Wisconsin held the Blugolds to only 26.1 percent shooting on the game and scoreless over a nine minute span in the second half.
The Badgers were led by junior Joe Krabbenhoft and sophomore Trevon Hughes who each tallied 13 points. Krabbenhoft, whose regular-season high is 11, also added seven rebounds and three assists. In 14 minutes of play, Madison native, freshman Keaton Nankivil, scored four points and had six rebounds.
The Badger big men controlled the paint, outscoring the Blugolds 38-8 in the lane and had a 17-0 advantage on second chance opportunities.
Eau Claire was led by Geoff Probst who tallied a game-high 16 points. With just over ten minutes to play in the first half, the Blugolds were only trailing by two, 18-16. Over the next ten minutes, the Badgers went on a 20-7 run to take the 38-23 halftime lead. Steve Hoelzel added four points and four rebounds.
The game marked the fifth time Wisconsin has hosted a WIAC school in exhibition play. The Badgers are 5-0 and have an average scoring margin of 37.6 points per game.
The Badgers open up their regular-season Sunday against Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne at 5 p.m. at the Kohl Center. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network and can be heard on the Badger Radio Network.