Poor shooting dooms Badgers, leading to 71-61 loss to Georgetown
NEW YORK -- Georgetown was ready. Boy, were the Hoyas ready.
They took the lead at the start against Wisconsin and never really let the Badgers back into a 71-61 victory for Georgetown on Friday night in the opening round of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden.
The Hoyas (1-2) have never started a season with three straight losses and they didn't this time around thanks to a good defensive effort.
"It's big for us. We've lost a tough one to Maryland the other day," Georgetown's Isaac Copeland said. "We've been itching to get our first win of the season. So this starts the train for a good season for us."
Copeland scored all 15 of his points in the second half, picking up where Reggie Cameron left off in the first half when he scored each of his career-high 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.
"I know I can make shots. We were just really ready to get there and play this game today," Cameron said. "I think our whole team was excited. We all wanted to get out there and everybody wanted to play good and contribute and everybody did that today."
Georgetown will play the winner of the game between No. 5 Duke and VCU in Sunday's championship.
"I thought our guys, on the defensive end, there were a few lapses but for the most part I thought we were very good," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "We did a very good job of helping each other."
Nigel Hayes had 22 points for the Badgers (2-2), who struggled from the field all game, especially at the start when they made one of their first 13 shots. They finished 20 for 63 (31.7 percent).
"We didn't shoot real well. You go 1 for 10 from 3, looking down the other end and they're shooting about 60 percent from 3 and it's a tough hill to overcome," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "What we needed to do was hit some of those early open looks we had."
Wisconsin never made a serious charge at the Hoyas, who led 27-22 at halftime and extended the lead to as many as 14 points. The Badgers closed to 43-36 with 11:08 to play, but Copeland scored eight of Georgetown's next nine points to take a 52-40 lead with 8:28 remaining.
"I just remembered Hayes scoring on me and I was just `All right I can't let that happen anymore,'" Copeland said. "We were talking back and forth to each other a little bit. So I got in a groove and I started shooting and they were going in. That happens sometimes."
Jessie Govan had 13 points for Georgetown.
Ethan Happ had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Badgers.
"It was definitely tough once we got within reach and then they would hit a 3," Happ said. "We kind of let down our guard a little bit when they hit a 3. We just have to keep consistent throughout the game."
Georgetown: At the first media timeout, 4:12 into the game, the Hoyas held a 2-0 lead. ... Smith-Rivera was 1 for 7 from the field in the first half, including missing all three of his 3-point attempts. ... The Hoyas were 9 of 18 from 3-point range, much better than the 36.6 percent they were shooting entering the game. ... Cameron's previous career-high was 13 points against Xavier on Jan. 15, 2014.
Wisconsin: The Badgers had won their last two November tournaments: the 2013 Cancun Classic and the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis. ... According to Wisconsin, the Badgers have the most freshmen on the roster (eight) of any team in the country. ... The Badgers were 1 of 10 from 3-point range in the first half and finished 5 of 19.