CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Bo Ryan earned his 300th win as Wisconsin's coach in an appropriate manner: Defense was the key.
Guard Josh Gasser scored 11 points and was the only player in double figures as the eighth-ranked Badgers knocked off Virginia 48-38 Wednesday in a ACC/Big Ten Challenge game at John Paul Jones Arena.
Ryan improved to 300-113 as the Badgers' coach. He became the ninth coach to win 300 games at a Big Ten school.
He said the will to win was formed early in his life.
"When I first started competing, my sister used to play jacks," Ryan said. "The first game I ever played was throwing the ball up in the air and grabbing these jacks. I played it to win, and I didn't care how."
Wisconsin did what was necessary to prevail Wednesday despite ice-cold shooting. The Badgers sank just 28.8 percent of their attempts from the field, but they were helped by Virginia making just 11 field goals the entire night. The Cavaliers shot 23.4 percent.
"It was so hard to get good looks, and when we did get good looks, they were hurried," Ryan said. "That was two teams just really beating people to positions and not allowing easy baskets."
Virginia coach Tony Bennett said, "I thought we lost our composure a little bit. I thought we had some chances to finish and did not."
Virginia (7-2) cut its deficit to 44-38 with 1:40 left but was unable to get any closer as its horrid shooting continued to the end.
"Credit to Wisconsin," Cavaliers senior guard Joe Harris said. "I thought they did a nice job defensively. They did not overwhelm me with their defensive pressure, they were very sound, a fundamentally solid defensive team."
Harris, who was defended by Gasser most of the night, made just one of 10 shots, scoring two points in 33 minutes.
"He's a great player," Gasser said. "I was just trying not to give him any easy looks. It was a lot of work, but it was a team effort on him."
Wisconsin (9-0) opened the second half on a 5-0 run to take a 30-20 lead, prompting Bennett to call a timeout with 15:59 to play.
Virginia's first field goal of the second half came with 11:17 to go when forward Mike Tobey connected on a sky hook. Guard Ben Brust answered with a 3-pointer to give Wisconsin a 37-23 lead, the largest of the game, with 10 minutes to play.
A 7-0 run got Virginia within seven before the Badgers responded with five consecutive points to extend the margin to 42-30 with 6:19 left.
"There weren't a lot of easy baskets out there," Ryan said. "We needed to try to make sure they didn't get and and-ones or back-to-back 3s or anything like that."
Freshman guard London Perrantes led Virginia with eight points. Cavaliers guard Malcolm Brogdon added five points and seven rebounds.
"When you shoot those numbers from your perimeter guys or as a team, you're not going to win too many games," Bennett said. "When it mattered, (the Badgers) were sounder and more poised."
Wisconsin outrebounded Virginia 40-34, including 12-8 on the offensive glass, leading to 13 second-chance points.
Badgers forward Frank Kaminsky grabbed 12 and scored nine points.
The teams shot a combined 16-for-51 (31.4 percent) from the field in the first half, and Wisconsin led 25-20 after 20 minutes of play.
Virginia jumped out to a 6-2 lead behind suffocating defense as Wisconsin turned the ball over three times on its first six possessions. The Badgers settled down and turned it over just two more times the rest of the half while Virginia committed six turnovers.
The Badgers tied the game at 14 on a 3-pointer by Gasser, and they held the Cavaliers without a field goal for over nine minutes.
After being deadly from beyond the arc in their two wins in the Corpus Christi Challenge, Virginia shot just 1-for-6 from long range in the first half. Wisconsin struggled as well, hitting just two of 10 first-half 3-point attempts.
Kaminsky led Wisconsin with seven first-half points. Perrantes scored six first-half points for Virginia.
NOTES: Wisconsin improved to 7-8 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, while Virginia fell to 8-6. ... The Badgers are off to their best start since they started 11-0 in 1993-94. ... Badgers C Frank Kaminsky began the night fourth in the Big 10 in 3-point field goal percentage (.480). He shot 4-for-11 Wednesday. ... The Cavaliers' Corpus Christi Challenge title was their first tournament championship under coach Tony Bennett.