Goodness, that was rough.
For the first time in school history, Wisconsin reached overtime for the third straight game Thursday night at Minnesota. Unlike the previous two wins over Michigan and Iowa, though, the Badgers generated little to nothing positive in the extra time.
Sam Dekker led Wisconsin with 14 points, though he seemed constrained by Bo Ryan's clock management that limited him to 22 minutes while, say, Ryan Evans (6 points on 2-of-8 shooting, as well as 2-of-8 shooting from the free throw line) received 29 minutes on the floor. Evans also struggled on defense, and though he did lead all players with 11 rebounds, neither area seems to be enough of a strength to overshadow his limitations on offense. How long can Ryan go with giving Evans minutes at the expense of the rest of the offense?
--Minnesota's Andre Hollins led all scorers with 21 points, though his 5-for-16 shooting performance clearly left much to be desired.
--The jokes are too easy, but the Badgers have seemed Bret Bielema Bad in late-game situations lately. Thursday night, Mike Bruesewitz tried running along the sideline in crunch time... after a made basket that eliminated that option. The resulting turnover sent the game into overtime after it looked like Wisconsin might be on its way to escaping the Barn with a win. Then in overtime, with just less than 40 seconds left and the Badgers trailing by four as the Gophers took control of the ball, Wisconsin took about 15 seconds until Ryan demanded a foul. Ultimately, it was too late, as the Badgers were unable to do anything once they regained possession.
--Traevon Jackson's hero ball doomed the Badgers down the stretch and in overtime. The sophomore guard finished with seven points on 3-of-14 shooting, including 1-of-6 from 3-point range. The Badgers had about 15 seconds at the end of regulation to prevent another overtime. Jackson slowly trotted the ball upcourt, reaching the Badgers' 3-point with about 10 seconds left. After getting a screen or two from this teammates, Jackson forced a careless drive to the hoop that ended in a hopeless clanker off the backboard.
--Normally, the easy answer would be to give Jackson fewer minutes at point guard, as he's struggled there as of late. But George Marshall played just eight minutes, scored zero points and took just one shot. While it's easy to clamor (heck, it's always easy to clamor) about Evans' consuming minutes that could be spent more productively, it's harder to do so with Jackson. Wisconsin just doesn't have a concrete point guard this season, and it doesn't appear there's an answer on the roster.
If anything, this one was a Hot Shower Game -- you just need one to rid yourself of the stank. Be well, y'all.