Wisconsin's victory came at the expense of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter, a former assistant coach and player under Badgers coach Bo Ryan.
But it wasn't easy.
The Panthers, who returned four of five starters from last season's NCAA Sweet 16 team but have struggled to adjust to Jeter's new offensive system, rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit to close to within seven points at halftime, thanks to three 3-pointers from senior guard Boo Davis near the end of the half.
Davis scored 23 to lead Wisconsin-Milwaukee (4-3), but he didn't look for his shot in the second half. Davis had one attempt in the game's final 11 minutes.
The Panthers took the lead on two free throws by Davis at the 16:12 mark of the second half and traded the lead several times with the Badgers.
Wisconsin's turning point came when Panthers junior forward Kevin Massiah missed a dunk with 8:21 remaining, and the Wisconsin-Milwaukee bench -- apparently complaining about the lack of a foul call -- was called for a technical.
An earlier technical seemed to rally the Panthers in the first half, but the second-half technical gave the edge to the Badgers.
Wisconsin hit two free throws on the technical to make the score 52-52 and outscored the Panthers 22-16 the rest of the way.
A first-half technical foul sent Panthers leading scorer Joah Tucker to the bench with four fouls. The Panthers were down 36-17 when the technical was called, but behind Davis' shooting, the Panthers rallied to make the score 37-30 at halftime.