Saturday, December 10, 2016

The science behind the 123rd meeting between Wisconsin and Marquette

                                 Photo Credit: Geno Green

Life can be as easy as 1, 2, 3.

If you are the Wisconsin Badgers and the Marquette Golden Eagles,  Saturday's 123rd meeting in Milwaukee served as a reminder on and off the court as to why it lays claim as the state's biggest rivalry game.

Fans decked out in the cardinal and white and the blue and gold braved wind chills of 7 degrees to line up outside the arena to await entry to the BMO Harris Bradley Center. 

The arena slowly filled and the booming pop music in the background helped jazz the crowd up as tip time neared.

Fireflies lit up most of the arena as the Marquette starting lineups were introduced and once the chants of "Lukeeeeee" reigned from the student section, the rivalry went into a fever pitch.

The popular phrase "It's Lit" best described the crowd after Fischer drained the opening layup as confetti reigned across the Bradley Center.

The energy remained intact for most the first half as both teams exchanged leads and dealt with their own issues—Ethan Happ's two fouls in the game first 81 seconds and Marquette's three turnovers in the first two minutes.

The Badgers produced the game's first run at 8-0 to go ahead 23-16, but Katin Reinhardt's triple out of the timeout brought the crowd back into a frenzy.

Reinhardt's three long-range makes off the bench kept Marquette afloat and would re-take the lead on freshman Markus Howard's three-point play at 30-27 with 6:28 left in the opening stanza.

Marquette maintained a 40-35 lead as halftime commenced 

Happ would reappear in the second half and score all of 11 points and grab five rebounds.

The second half began as another battle with both teams exchanging leads until Happ's spinning layup capped a 16-0 run for Wisconsin to go ahead by 15 with 9:24 left in regulation.

The Badgers would not look bad as the road team took the third consecutive game in the series with a 93-84 win over the Golden Eagles.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.