A poor shooting performance from the Dayton Flyers combined with some overall solid defense from the Wisconsin Badgers led Wisconsin to an opening round victory over Dayton 43-42 in the Bahamas.
Wisconsin was headlined by freshman guard Connor Essegian who scored 13 points, 11 of them coming in the first half. Wisconsin shot a season low field goal percentage of 23.7%, which was backed by an even worse three point percentage of 22.2%. The Badgers were strong on the defensive end however, as Dayton turned the ball over 17 times throughout the course of the game. The starters for Wisconsin struggled all game, as Steven Crowl finished with nine points, but none of the other starters scored more than three points, including projected stars Tyler Wahl and Chucky Hepburn, who scored 3 and 2 respectively. The Badgers kept their winning streak going, moving their record to 4-0.
Dayton was not much better shooting the ball, as they were led by Kobe Elvis’ 16 points. The Flyers shot 30.2% from the field, ultimately being better than Wisconsin, but shot a horrid 14.8% from behind the three point line, ending up 4-27. Dayton falls to 3-2 on the season, with their two losses coming to the Badgers and the UNLV Rebels.
With the win, Wisconsin moves on to the semifinals to take on the third ranked Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas snuck by unranked NC State 80-74 in their opening round matchup before the Badgers took the floor. Wisconsin will have to shoot much better from the field if they want to advance to the finals, as Kansas is a well rounded team led by Gradey Dick, a freshman who scored 25 points against NC State.
Wisconsin and Kansas will tip off from the Bahamas at 10 A.M. Thanksgiving morning.