When Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson was introduced Saturday at the Kohl Center prior to a nonconference road game at Wisconsin, Badgers fans let him know how much they disliked the former in-state prep star's decision to join the Golden Eagles.
After leading his team to a gut-check 57-55 victory and surviving a late-rally from the Badgers, Ellenson boldly proclaimed that he used the pregame boos to help him prove who the state's best player is as well as the state's best program.
Ellenson produced his fifth double-double of his freshman season with 15 points and 11 rebounds and combined with Indiana transfer Luke Fischer, who had 12 points and eight rebounds, to earn Marquette another big win.
No, Wisconsin isn't what it used to be just a year ago when it played for the national title. But beating the Badgers at the Kohl Center is never easy to do and getting the job done is a sign this Marquette team will be very competitive in the Big East.
Wisconsin didn't get a single point from its bench and while the Badgers deserve credit from fighting back from a 14-point deficit to tie the game late, they also made mistakes and poor decisions down the stretch that were unchracteristic of last season's team but are becoming all-too-familiar this season.
Outside of LSU freshman Ben Simmons, a case can be made that Ellenson has been the most impactful freshman in the nation so far this season. The 6-foot-11 forward is remarkably consistent, producing only one sub-par performance in the first 10 games of his career. Since scoring just three points in a disappointing outing against Iowa in mid-November, Ellenson and his teammates have strung together seven consecutive victories.
Ellenson has scored at least 15 points in every other game.
- - - - - - -