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Stanford loses Atlantis opener to Wisconsin

Tough day from the field sinks Cardinal

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Wisconsin vs Stanford Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

This was as ugly a game as you would ever hope to watch. Despite shooting a paltry 27% from the field, Stanford found itself down just 2 points with 6 minutes remaining, and had a trip to the line with a chance to knot it up. Both of Bryce Wills’ free throws rattled off, and the Badgers subsequently rattled off a 9 point run to put the game away. When the final horn sounded and put basketball lovers out of their misery, Wisconsin had won 62-46.

Jerod Haase started the game with a surprising decision, opting to start Bryce Wills instead of Josh Sharma. It was a small lineup, especially against an All-American center in Ethan Happ. Right away Wisconsin went inside to their big man, and his 10 first half points helped the Badgers to a 4 point lead at the break. Happ’s game already falls into the “crafty old man at the YMCA” category, and his array of moves punished the Cardinal.

While Stanford was missing shots, the normally careful Wisconsin was committing 8 first half turnovers. The brightest spot of the opening 20 minutes for the Cardinal came when Josh Sharma checked in, giving them 4 points, 3 caroms, and 2 blocks in limited action. His energy helped stall the Badger momentum and kept Stanford in striking distance.

Out of the locker room, Stanford picked up 8 fouls before the Badgers picked up their first. Within the first 7 minutes, Wisconsin was in the double bonus. The Stanford offense that got to the line so much in the first three games didn’t have similar luck until late in this one. Wisconsin’s Nate Reuvers turned away 9 shots on the game, and the collapsing Badger defense stymied much of the Stanford penetration at the rim.

Oscar da Silva had a strong second half for Stanford, and was the catalyst in cutting the lead to 2 late. He had 7 and 5 after the break, including two big and-ones where he got the aggressive Reuvers off his feet with a series of pump fakes. He has quietly been piecing together a solid season in the early going.

KZ Okpala was the lone player in double figures for Stanford, finishing with 11 points and 8 boards. He was in the paint repeatedly, but converted just 2 of his 12 attempts from the field. Daejon Davis had 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, though he tallied 3 more turnovers.

Kodye Pugh made his season debut in wake of his wrist injury. He missed a pair of shot attempts in 3 minutes of action. Lukas Kišūnas was the primary backup to Sharma in big lineups, entering the game before Trevor Stanback. He played a strong 4 minutes, including a bucket on a pick-and-roll with Davis, and a rejection of Happ.

Wisconsin was led by the 16 of D’Mitrik Trice on 6-20 shooting. Happ had 16 and 12, while Brad Davison added 14.

Stanford will face Florida tomorrow in the consolation bracket. They lost their matchup with the Gators a year ago in Portland.