MADISON, Wis. -- Virginia's showing in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge certainly felt like Big Ten conference play as the Cavaliers overcame the Wisconsin Badgers in a low-scoring 60-54 game Wednesday night at the Kohl Center.
Junior guard Joe Harris led Virginia (5-2) with 22 points, carrying an offense that shot 45.7 percent from the field. The win moves the Cavaliers to 8-5 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and extends their winning streak in the tournament to three games. Virginia has also won four straight overall after a 1-2 start.
The Badgers (4-3), unable to find steady offensive production throughout the game, had a chance to draw within one point, trailing by two with 32 seconds remaining. But stout defense from the Cavaliers prevented any shot attempts until junior guard Ben Brust forced up a weak, contested attempt. Two subsequent free throws from junior forward Akil Mitchell sealed the game for Virginia.
Wisconsin fell to 6-8 in the Challenge all-time, including a 5-7 mark under head coach Bo Ryan.
After holding a one-point halftime lead, Virginia withstood improved shooting from Wisconsin in the second half. Brust scored 11 second-half points to finish with a team-high 15, while senior forward/center Jared Berggren added 12 points after finishing the first half with just three.
The Badgers managed to force the Cavaliers into nine turnovers while having just five of their own, though an inability to reach the free throw on the other end limited Wisconsin's scoring. Freshman forward Sam Dekker attempted Wisconsin's first free throw at the 5:39 mark, nailing two to trim Virginia's lead to 50-45. Dekker finished with five points off the bench.
The Cavaliers held a 24-23 halftime lead, thanks in large part to 11 points from Harris. Harris entered the game leading Virginia in scoring at 15.0 points per game and has hit double digits in six of Virginia's first seven games. Sophomore forward Darion Atkins also added six points on 3-of-5 shooting.
The Cavaliers opened the game on a 6-2 run before the first TV timeout at 15:48. The Badgers were able to stay close, despite poor shooting (10-for-27 from the field in the first half) and an inability to reach the free throw line.
While Virginia went 3-for-3 from the charity stripe in the first half, Wisconsin failed to get there once.
Virginia also held a sizable lead on the glass, pulling down 18 rebounds to Wisconsin's eight. Junior forward Akil Mitchell led all players with six rebounds at halftime, while Atkins added four.
Notes: Sophomore Traevon Jackson made his first career start for Wisconsin on Wednesday. He started at point guard in place of redshirt freshman George Marshall, who entered at the 15:49 mark in the first half. Dick Bennett, the father of Virginia head coach Tony Bennett, coached Wisconsin from 1995 to 2001.