Johnny Davis scored 20 points and Tyler Wahl added 18 to lead Wisconsin to a 61-55 victory over Saint Mary’s on Wednesday in the Maui Invitational final in Las Vegas.
Wisconsin (5-1) overcame a 10-point second-half deficit for their third consecutive tournament win against a previously undefeated team.
The Badgers, who trailed 37-27 early in the second half, rallied for a 50-46 lead with 4:27 remaining as Wahl’s layup capped a run of seven points.
Saint Mary’s (6-1) came close to 54-53 on a 3 point Alex Ducas. Brad Davison hit the second of his two free throws to give Wisconsin a 55-53 lead. Tommy Kuhse missed ahead of the bonus for the Gaels with 1:21 to go.
Wahl hit a paint flip jumper, then hit two free throws for a 59-53 lead with 27 seconds left.
Wisconsin made 16 of 18 free throws to become the first Big Ten team to win the Maui Invitational from Illinois in 2012. The Badgers also scored 13 points on 16 Saint Mary’s turnovers.
Wisconsin shot 37.5 percent from the field, including 3 of 12 at 3 points.
Ducas had 13 points, Logan Johnson added 12 and Dan Fotu 11 for the Gaels, who shot 42% from the field and were 4 of 15 behind the arc.
Wahl, who had 12 points in the second half, had 6 of 9 and 6 of 6 shots from the free throw line. Davis, who tallied 30 points in the Badgers’ 65-63 loss to Houston, 12th in the semifinals, had 71 points in all three games.
Saint Mary’s took advantage of a defensive gap for a six-point advantage at the half. Carter Gilmore’s pull-up jumper with nine seconds remaining pulled Wisconsin to 29-25, but Logan Johnson responded with a quick layup on the other end just before the buzzer.
The Gaels connected on 13 of 25 shots before the break, including 3 of 9 from beyond the arc. Wisconsin missed all three attempts by 3 points.
Davis had nine of the Badgers’ first 11 points, but didn’t score for the final 13 minutes of half-time.
Saint Mary’s also led Wisconsin 24-12 in first-half paint.
For the second year in a row, the Maui Invitational took place not in Hawaii but in Las Vegas due to Hawaii state travel restrictions and COVID protocols.