Khalil Iverson

Wisconsin Badgers guard Khalil Iverson (21) dunks the ball in the first half of the Badgers' 75-50 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday night at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl was in attendance Friday night as the University of Wisconsin continued its celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Kohl Center, which held its first game on Jan. 17, 1998, with the Badgers men’s basketball team defeating the Northwestern Wildcats.

At halftime of Friday's game against Illinois, Badgers fans were treated to a video retrospective of the building’s 20-year history. The video featured images of the Kohl Center being constructed, highlights of the most memorable moments in the arena’s history and interviews with those who helped shape that history.

The video ended with a message thanking Kohl, who was then shown on the overhead scoreboard alongside UW athletic director Barry Alvarez, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd.

Kohl, who graduated from UW in 1956, donated $25 million towards the $76.4 million it cost to complete the building that bears his name.

Spots of orange in sea of cardinal

With UW building a double-digit lead by halftime before cruising to victory, there was little to celebrate for the few Illinois fans sporting orange in support of the Fighting Illini at the Kohl Center.

It was no surprise there weren’t more Illinois fans in the house, as Wisconsin entered Friday’s game having won the previous 11 meetings in the cross-border matchup.

Badgers share TV dreams

During a stop in play in the first half, UW players shared which TV shows they would want to be on if they could.

The pre-recorded video featured a handful of UW players, including redshirt junior guard Matt Ferris saying he’d want to be on “The Office,” claiming he could be a “better Jim Halpert,” referring to the character portrayed by John Krasinski.

Technical difficulties

With just over 13 minutes left in the first half, an errant horn stopped the Fighting Illini offense in its tracks.

After the horn mistakenly sounded during play, the referees went to the scorer’s table to reset the clock, adding 9 seconds back onto the shot clock and letting Illinois inbound from under the basket. However, the clock started running before the Fighting Illini could inbound the ball, forcing the refs back to the scorer’s table.

After the technical difficulties were straightened out, Illinois freshman guard Trent Frazier drew boos from the UW faithful after he extended the delay further by stopping to tie his shoe before taking the ball from the referee.

Just for fun…

During a stop in play with a few minutes left in the first half, a Wisconsin fan proposed to a woman, and judging from her reaction, which was shown on the scoreboard, the answer appeared to be an enthusiastic “Yes!” … During a break in the action Friday night, a UW employee said he was told by a supervisor that it would take 81,000 hot dogs to equal the weight of the new overhead scoreboard, which weighs in at 38,000 pounds according to the university. … Staff Sergeant Johnathon Hagen was recognized early in the first half as the Kwik Trip “Hometown Hero,” drawing a standing ovation from the crowd when he was shown on the scoreboard.


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