BY MIKE LUCAS
UWBadgers.com Senior Writer
MADISON, Wis. — It might not completely erase the frustration for Vitto Brown, who didn't make a basket against Rutgers. But the Wisconsin forward might take some solace in knowing that he has some company in Michigan's Zak Irvin who didn't make a basket against Michigan State.
Brown was 0-for-8 on Saturday. Irvin was 0-for-8 on Sunday. Both are experienced seniors and integral components of their respective starting lineups. Brown has played in 104 games for the Badgers, Irvin has played in 126 games for the Wolverines. Stuff happens regardless.
Brown found other ways to contribute. He was 3-of-4 from the free throw line and had seven rebounds and three blocks. Moreover, the Badgers overcame their poor shooting as a team and outlasted the Scarlet Knights, 61-54, in overtime. By contrast, Irvin had just two boards in a 70-62 loss.
"I was trying to stay active regardless if the shot was falling," said Brown, who had scored in double-figures in three of the last four games. "I was trying to do the other things like playing good defense and getting some rebounds. I think that's one positive that I can take from this game."
Along with the win, of course.
"We're thankful for our savior, Ethan," Brown said.
Ethan Happ scored a career-high 32 points, including the game-tying basket that sent the teams into overtime. Happ was 12-of-18 from the field. His UW teammates were 8-of-42. But when it counted the most, the Badgers responded by making 11 of their final 14 shots in regulation and the OT.
"It's inexplicable," Brown said of the lid on the basket that the Badgers encountered, particularly in the first half when they made only 5-of-25 attempts. "I know there were a lot of shots that weren't in rhythm, but most of them were good looks and the ball just wasn't going in."
Asked how he might have dealt with an 0-for-8 earlier in his college career, Brown joked, "I might have never shot again … I'm just glad it's a quick turnaround so I can bounce back."
The Badgers will return to action Tuesday night against Illinois. They have won their last four games in Champaign at the State Farm Center and 10 straight in the series overall. "But we know their stats at home. They are way better than their away stats," Brown said.
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