Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Wisconsin's shooting struggles against top competition continued and the Badgers could not overcome a 34-20 halftime deficit against in-state rival Marquette.
Wisconsin fell down 7-0 in the first two minutes of Saturday evening's contest with in-state rival Marquette and could never quite catch up. The Badgers (6-4) trailed 34-20 at the half, but were able to mount a couple of second-half rallies before ultimately falling 60-50 at the Bradley Center.
No Wisconsin player scored in double-figures as Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren led with nine points apiece. The Badgers' shooting struggles against better competition continued, finishing 17-of-52 (32.7%) from the field and a meager 7-of-25 (28%) from the three-point line. Wisconsin came into the game ranked fourth in the country in fewest turnovers per game (9.8) but committed 13 turnovers as guards Traevon Jackson and Ben Brust struggled to operate against Marquette's high-pressure defense.
Marquette (6-2) showed more urgency and effort throughout in the battle for Wisconsin state bragging rights. Junior Cadougan entered Saturday's game averaging just 6.3 points per game but continually penetrated into the paint for easy looks en route to a season high 18 points and six assists. Vander Blue continued his strong play of late and chipped in 15 of his 17 points in the first half for the Golden Eagles.
Wisconsin played without starting forward Mike Bruesewitz (concussion) and it showed. Marquette outhustled and thoroughly outplayed the Badgers in the first 20 minutes before Wisconsin countered with a more inspired effort in the second half. The Badgers went on a 10-2 run and cut their deficit to 41-38 with 10:31 to go but that is as close as they would get. Cadougan answered to score ten of his team's next twelve points, including a huge three-point play that stretched Marquette's lead out to 53-44.
After a Davante Gardner jumper made it 55-44 with just 1:34 remaining, Wisconsin pulled within five on back-to-back threes from Berggren and George Marshall. But a Cadougan and-one off a full-court out-of-bounds pass from Blue put Marquette back up eight and officially ended Wisconsin's chances.