PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Connor Essegian scored a career-high 13 points while Wisconsin beat Dayton 43-42 in Wednesday’s first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis despite shooting just 23.7%.
The Badgers (4-0) survived a slow-paced game that came down to the final seconds. The Flyers (3-2) had a final possession for the win with Kobe Elvis looking to drive, but Max Klesmit blocked Elvis’ runner out of bounds with 2 seconds left and 1 on the shot clock.
The Flyers inbounded the ball to Elvis for a catch-and-pull shot from the right wing, but he couldn’t get it off in time for the shot-clock violation.
The Badgers ended it with Tyler Wahl’s long heave to Klesmit at midcourt for a catch that killed the clock.
Wisconsin made just 14 of 59 shots for the game, including 6 of 29 (20.7%) after halftime. The Badgers also won despite shooting 6 of 27 from 3-point range.
Elvis scored 16 points to lead the Flyers, the Atlantic 10 favorite who was ranked No. 21 in the AP Top 25 before falling out this week. Dayton had its own offensive struggles, going 6 of 29 in the first half before warming up a bit to nearly 42% after halftime behind 14 points from Elvis.
But Dayton made just 4 of 27 3-pointers (14.8%) for the game.
Wisconsin led 23-14 at halftime.
The Badgers advanced to Thursday’s semifinals to play third-ranked and reigning national champion Kansas, which beat North Carolina State in Wednesday’s tournament opener. The Flyers will face the Wolfpack in Thursday’s consolation bracket.