Ethan Happ leads Wisconsin past Houston Baptist, 96-59
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Ethan Happ is now Wisconsin’s leading rebounder. He’s in the top 10 for scoring.
And with four more assists, he’ll crack the top 10 in that category as well.
That all-around game from the 6-foot, 10-inch forward was on full display Saturday as his third straight double-double to open the season led Wisconsin to an easy 96-59 win over Houston Baptist.
The Huskies (1-2) had no answer for Happ, who scored 15 points and grabbed a game high 12 rebounds for Wisconsin (3-0).
That included rebound No. 905 in the first half, pushing him past Claude Gregory, who played for the Badgers from 1978-81. Happ now has 911 for his career.
“It’s definitely something that my dad instilled in me when I was little, just to work on your ball handling, your passing, all facets of your game and don’t just limit yourself to one area even though I was a little taller than a lot of the other kids,” said Happ, whose six assists put him at 293 for his career.
The game was never in doubt as the Badgers built their first double-digit lead six minutes into the game, pushed it to 21 a little more than halfway through the first half and crossed the 30-point mark early in the second half.
Happ, who played point guard through his freshman year of high school, recorded 17 assists in Wisconsin’s first two games, and he could have had more than the six he had Saturday. At one point, he led the fast break, put on a nice spin move short of half court and flipped a behind-the-back pass to D’Mitrik Trice in the corner. But the 3-point attempt rimmed out.
“He’s a unique type player,” said Houston Baptist coach Ron Cottrell said. “He doesn’t shoot from the perimeter at all and yet he just tears you up inside, and he’s so fundamentally sound.”
Brevin Pritzl scored 17 points for the Badgers, who had five players score in double figures.
Ian DuBose led the Huskies with 18 points.
TO THE MONITOR -- YET AGAIN
The new emphasis on calling the “hook and hold” produced four trips to the monitors so referees could review plays. Officials are trying to crack down on offensive players using their “off” arm to lock elbows with a defender to make it appear the defensive player is committing a foul. Cottrell said the flagrant foul assessed on those plays seem to be called no matter what the intention was. “They’re basically doing what they’re told to do,” he said of the referees. “They’re painted in a box that they have to go to the monitor and have to look at this when it happens.”
LOOSE WITH THE BALL -- SORTA
Wisconsin came in leading the nation with just six turnovers per game. But the Badgers committed their seventh before the first half was even over as Brad Davison was whistled for a charge in the closing seconds while driving for a final shot attempt, and they finished with 10 for the game. Still, that’s not too shabby. Their new average of just more than seven a game still has them in the top five nationally. “There are times that we get a little erratic, so that will always be an area that will be a point of emphasis,” said Wisconsin coach Greg Gard.
Houston Baptist: Teams from the Southland Conference are now 0-7 against Wisconsin. The Huskies will presumably have better nights this season than playing on the road against a Big Ten team.
Wisconsin: It was an efficient tune-up before the Badgers face stiffer competition in the Bahamas in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Badgers shot 67 percent in the first half, including 50 percent from the 3-point line, and were never really challenged.
Houston Baptist: The Huskies travel to Wake Forest on Friday.
Wisconsin: The Badgers head to the Bahamas to play Stanford