LAS VEGAS — University of Wisconsin sophomore guard Johnny Davis may have missed the previous game with an injury, but that didn’t stop him from showing out on Monday in the Badgers’ first game of the Maui Invitational.
Davis led all scorers with a career-high 21 points on 8-for-18 shooting in UW’s 69-58 win over Texas A&M. He played 38 minutes, the most on either team, while falling just shy of a double-double with a game-leading nine rebounds.
He was out with a lower body injury during UW’s loss to Providence on Nov. 15. A source told the State Journal he bruised his heel during the team’s victory over UW-Green Bay on Nov. 12.
Davis’ first practice back was just two days before the Badgers (3-1) left for Las Vegas and despite his production on the court, he admitted to being a little winded.
“I'm not used to sitting out and then coming back and playing so I would say I was a little out of shape,” Davis said. “It was great to be back out there playing with my guys. And I'm really happy that we got the W.”
Davis didn’t score until four minutes into the game, but his layup ended a 2-minute, 25-second drought for the Badgers.
Davis’ performance during the team’s first half surge helped change the momentum heading into the second half and ultimately earned UW the win.
Davis hit a 3-pointer late in the first half off a pass from junior Tyler Wahl before throwing down a dunk to give the Badgers their first lead of the game and cap a 15-0 UW run with 25 second left before halftime.
His typically stoic and straight face broke out into a smile after he hung on the rim as the UW fans at Michelob Ultra Arena cheered louder than they had all day.
“It was great to see everybody out there today cheering us on,” Davis said. “It was really good to see friends and family. At the end of the day, we're not really worried about the outside world. We're just focused on winning the game.”
Davis had a solid defensive presence and caused multiple Texas A&M players to miss on layups. He single-handedly prevented Aggies leading scorer Henry Coleman III from scoring at least twice. The Badgers held Coleman, who was averaging 12.5 points coming into the game, to only 8 points before he fouled out.
Davis’ performance stood out to Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams so much so that he spoke highly of Davis after the game.
“I think [Davis] is a really good prospect and I think [Davis] changes their team,” Williams said. “I don't necessarily think that it's schematically that they change anything, but I think there's more of a priority when [Davis] is in the game and what they're trying to accomplish.”
The icing on the cake for Davis was that he was able to share the court with twin brother Jordan Davis for the first time in a while. Jordan Davis provided a boost for the Badgers off the bench with a 3-pointer and a steal that led to a basket by Wahl.
Johnny Davis has taken back the leading scorer spot for the Badgers at 17.0 points per game. He also leads the team with the most assists with an average of three per game.
He’ll be part of the plan to shut down Houston leading scorer Marcus Sasser in Tuesday’s semifinal matchup against the Cougars, which is set to tip off at 4 p.m. Sasser is averaging 23.3 points per game and added nine in Houston’s first-round win over Butler on Monday.
Photos: Wisconsin men's basketball rallies back for victory over Texas A&M in Maui Invitational