"There wasn't too many of them," Davis said after Wisconsin's 67-60 win Friday night in its first-round NCAA tournament game. "When they were talking, I don't know how I could hear them, but I could a little bit. That's just me talking and getting myself amped up, helps me play better."
Davis, the Big Ten Player of the Year and a Wooden Award candidate, rarely shows emotion when he plays. But he fed off an energized arena to score 17 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, while overcoming some defensive miscues, to rally Wisconsin.
The third-seeded Badgers, who shared the Big Ten regular-season championship, advance to face No. 11 seed Iowa State on Sunday in the second round of the Midwest Region.
"There was no way we were going to take an upset in our in our home state, pretty much a home game," Davis said. "But we need to do it again on Sunday."
Colgate coach Matt Langel, whose teams have visited Duke, Kansas and other notable venues over the years, called the environment the best he had experienced. His team pushed the Badgers, who missed nine of their first 10 shots and scored just two points in the first 6:50. The Raiders, who came in on a 15-game win streak, led for much of the first half and continued their strong play after halftime.
Senior guard Tucker Richardson, defended by Davis for much of the game, made four consecutive 3-pointers in a span of 2:42 as Colgate led 40-37 with 15:17 to play. But Richardson and the Raiders cooled off substantially, not scoring for more than seven minutes later in the half.
"I just stopped being lazy on defense and non-fundamental," Davis said. "That's all it was."
"At least he's honest," coach Greg Gard added.
Davis, who made just two of his first eight shots, scored Wisconsin's final 14 points. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, he made four of eight contested shots in the second half after hitting just one of seven in the first half.
"I'm speechless, I've got no words to say," Badgers guard Chucky Hepburn said. "I just give him the ball and get out of the way."
Gard said assistant Joe Krabbenhoft, who did the Colgate scouting report, "was going to have a heart attack" after the series of 3-pointers before Wisconsin adjusted defensively. Junior forward Tyler Wahl helped Wisconsin withstand Colgate's barrage and finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
But Davis took over down the stretch, slamming the ball on a runout and making all five of his free throw attempts.
"He doesn't express his emotions too much, and hopefully does it with how he plays," Gard said. "He got going pretty good in the second half there, fortunately took good shots, got to the foul line.
"He does what great players do. The lights get bright, they step up."