MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Brevin Pritzl heated up from the outside, Ethan Happ dominated inside — each with 18 points — and Wisconsin cruised to an 82-53 win Saturday over UMass Lowell in the final nonconference game for both teams.
UMass Lowell (6-7) simply didn’t have the size to stop Happ, who played just 20 minutes and was 8 of 12 from the field. The River Hawks only listed one starter taller than 6 feet, 4 inches, and the 6-10 Happ had 11 points just more than halfway through the first half.
Pritzl, meanwhile, had been hitting 33 percent of his 3-point attempts coming in. But he was 4 of 6 from behind the 3-point line, showing flashes of the shooting touch his Wisconsin (8-7) teammates often say they see in practice. He also was aggressive driving to the hoop, and a late 3 helped eclipse his previous career high of 17, which he set a little more than two weeks ago.
That Wisconsin was so successful on offense wasn’t much of a shock. UMass Lowell came in giving up an average of 77.6 points a game, ranking the River Hawks 292nd out of 351 Division I teams.
The Badgers defense, though, has been a work in progress. But Wisconsin held the River Hawks to nearly 27 points below their season average coming in.
Josh Gantz scored 16 points to lead UMass Lowell, while Matt Harris added 14.
UMass Lowell: The River Hawks, who completed the transition to Division I from Division II this season and are eligible for postseason play for the first time, simply didn’t have the firepower to hang with Wisconsin. Thing should be much easier in the America East Conference, where UMass Lowell was picked in the middle of the pack.
Wisconsin: After Wednesday’s win over Chicago State, the Badgers expressed frustration with their defensive effort in giving up 70 points to a team ranked 313th in Division I scoring offense. In their final tuneup before Big Ten play begins, the Badgers looked much sharper on the defensive end.
UMass Lowell: The River Hawks host Vermont on Thursday.
Wisconsin: The Badgers host Indiana on Tuesday.