No. 10 Wisconsin’s balanced scoring and stellar foul shooting was too much for West Virginia in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge.
Sam Dekker’s career-high 21 points led four Badgers in double figures as the tournament favorites hung on for a 70-63 at the Riviera Maya.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for West Virginia (5-2), which got 27 points from Eron Harris and 16 from Juwan Staten but only two points from its other three starters.
Ben Brust chipped in 16 points for Wisconsin (8-0), which also used Josh Gasser’s 11 points and Frank Kaminsky’s 10 to remain unbeaten. Decker had 12 rebounds as the Badgers out-rebounded WVU 37-27.
Foul shooting proved pivotal as Wisconsin made 15-of-17 free throws and WVU sank only 6-of-14.
Harris made 7-of-11 from 3-point range, part of West Virginia’s 54-percent shooting from deep. Remi Dibo was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, including a shot that drew WVU to within 50-46 with 10:23 left.
After Harris missed a 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining and Wisconsin leading 64-58, Dekker came free on the right wing for a 3 that put the game out of reach.
Badgers point guard Traeveon Jackson, after reaching double figures in six of his team’s first seven games, was held to six points on 1-of-9 shooting. Yet he contributed 10 rebounds and dished out seven assists
Wisconsin led 30-13 after a 20-2 run spanned a seven-minute span in the first half. WVU made only 1-of-9 shots during the stretch while committing two turnovers, but Harris ended the slide with a 3-pointer and hit three more 3s over the final 3:37 of the half when the Mountaineers pulled within 39-31.