“That was something special, and I just savor the moment,” Happ said. “It was kind of like a curtain call, and whenever you get a curtain call at MSG I’m not going to pass it up.” Happ was locked in from the opening tip, scoring Wisconsin’s first eight points, before the Badgers got away from playing inside-out. The results were an eyesore. Koenig, UW’s leading scorer, shot 2-of-13 from the field, not connecting on a basket until the 15:49 mark of the second half. Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Nigel Hayes scored five of his seven points in overtime. Saturday wasn’t the Badgers’ first chilly shooting night, though. A starting five composed of four seniors and a redshirt sophomore has encountered just about every trial and tribulation somewhere along the journey. Head coach Greg Gard counted on that experience factor to extend to the scoreboard. “The maturity of this group was evident,” said Gard, who attempted to tell jokes to loosen his players up. “They didn’t get rattled, didn’t panic in the timeouts, didn’t panic in the huddles.” They also weren’t jarred when, on the final possession of regulation and facing a two-point deficit, Koenig—the first option on the out-of-bounds play—was denied. “At that point, there was probably six seconds left on the clock, so you just got to make a play,” said Happ. “I went to the hoop, and credit [associate head coach Lamont Paris] for always getting on me to pump fake—I pump faked, and I made the layup.”
A curtain call at MSG?Take a bow @EthanHapp22 pic.twitter.com/s6Q6lxf1zg — Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) January 28, 2017
Is this real life?
Sounds simple really, and for Happ, it was: He scored 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting. His teammates combined for 29 points on 8-of-42 shooting (19 percent). “He just gets great low-post position,” said Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell of Happ. “He’s relentless…Angles, got great hands, finishes around the basket.” Happ’s performance vaulted him to No. 3 on the 2017 kenpom.com Player of the Year standings, trailing only Villanova’s Josh Hart and fellow Big Ten forward Caleb Swanigan of Purdue. Odds are, Happ is much more focused on Wisconsin having won 14 of its last 15 games since getting roughed up by North Carolina in the Maui Invitational final back on Thanksgiving Eve. Still, when the Milan, Illinois native resembles a man amongst boys while making scoring look easy in an otherwise offensive struggle, it warrants a conversation as to why Happ isn’t being talked about more as a veritable First-Team All-American candidate. Photo: @BadgerMBB Follow Mike on Twitter Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And like ZAGS on Facebook
ETHAN HAPP TIES IT!We're going to OVERTIME at @TheGarden! #OnWisconsin || #Badgers pic.twitter.com/OOOdYpeRy7 — Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) January 28, 2017