Jordan Davis and freshman Connor Essegian help Wisconsin finish 4-0 on the Badgers' exhibition tour in France

·3 min read
Jordan Davis, seen in a game last season, scored 14 points for the Badgers on Monday.
Jordan Davis, seen in a game last season, scored 14 points for the Badgers on Monday.

Greg Gard’s players certainly will face more talented basketball teams than they did during Wisconsin’s four-game exhibition tour in France.

Yet Gard had to be at least mildly encouraged by some of what he saw during the tour, which ended Monday in Nice with UW recording an 85-69 victory over Azurea Club.

Jordan Davis, whose role should expand this season, and freshman Connor Essegian scored 14 points apiece to help the Badgers finish 4-0.

"We wanted to finish out strong," Davis during a postgame interview posted on the program's Twitter account. "Like what we see. We played together as a team. Looking forward to the season."

Essegian scored seven points, four coming off offensive rebounds, and Davis added six to help UW build a 19-12 lead after one quarter.

Davis added three consecutive baskets in the second quarter to help UW take a commanding 42-29 halftime lead.

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Carter Gilmore and Steven Crowl scored five points apiece in the third quarter to help UW build the lead to 63-47.

Crowl and Gilmore finished with points 11 apiece and Wofford transfer Max Klesmit added 10. Klesmit scored seven points in the final quarter.

Chucky Hepburn and Markus Ilver, another player who should vie for a spot in the regular rotation, added seven points apiece.  Tyler Wahl added four points, Isaac Lindsey had three and UW-Green Bay transfer Kamari McGee added two.

Gard again switched up his starting rotation. He started Hepburn, Davis, Lindsey, Wahl and Crowl in the tour finale. The second unit was McGee, Essegian, Klesmit, Ilver and Chris Hodges.

Davis averaged 1.3 points and 6.5 minutes per game as a sophomore last season. He likely will battle for a starting spot and on the tour scored eight, nine, nine and 14 points.

It remains unclear how well Essegian will be able to defend in his first season. However, he finished in the top 10 in scoring in Indiana with more than 2,500 points for Central Noble High School.

Essegian was scoreless in the opening game of UW's tour but scored 11, 10 and 14 points in the final three games. He scored seven consecutive points in the fourth quarter Monday after UW's lead dwindled to 10 points.

"Connor has really come into his own," Davis said. "He is a freshman who knows his role on the team. It is fun to watch him play."

The Badgers, who have won a share of two of the last three Big Ten regular-season titles, are set to open the season Nov. 7 against visiting South Dakota.

"This year I'm looking to improve my overall game," Davis said.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Jordan Davis, Connor Essegian lead Wisconsin in final game in France