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Wisconsin basketball: Badgers struggle on both ends, falls to Georgetown

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Wisconsin's early-season struggles continued Friday night as the Badgers dropped their 2K Classic semifinal to Georgetown, 71-61.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Nigel Hayes couldn't do it all for the Badgers.

The junior forward scored 22 points, but a poor second-half defensive performance and a lack of secondary help on offense from his Wisconsin teammates doomed the Badgers (2-2) in a 71-61 loss to Georgetown at the Madison Square Garden in the 2K Classic semifinal.

Isaac Copeland and Reggie Cameron led the charge as the Hoyas (1-2) shot the Badgers out of the gym Friday night. Copeland went 3-for-4 and Cameron was 4-for-6 from deep as the Hoyas made nine of 16 three-point attempts in a coast-to-coast victory.

It took the Badgers 6 minutes and 28 seconds to score their first points of the game. The next 32 minutes, 28 seconds wouldn't go much better for the Badgers.

Hayes led all scorers on 7-for-16 shooting, but he didn't get much help from his teammates Friday night.

The Badgers shot just 33.3 percent (20-60) as a team, including a 29.5 percent mark on shots not taken by Hayes.

Wisconsin trailed only by five at halftime, thought, and drew within two points twice within the first six minutes of the second half. Both times, however, Georgetown responded by doing what they did all night long: draining a triple.

After limiting the Hoyas to 27 points and 36.7 percent shooting in the first half, Georgetown put up 44 second-half points on 55.6 percent shooting.

It was another uncharacteristic showing from a Bo Ryan-led team—something Wisconsin fans may need to get used to. Behind 16 second-half fouls, Georgetown made 20 of 24 free throws. And on offense, the Badgers turned the ball over 12 times.

Sloppy on both ends, indeed.

Without a plethora of secondary scoring options available, the Badgers will have to rely on the shooting of junior guard Bronson Koenig to go along with Hayes. On Friday, that was something they couldn't turn to. Koenig missed 10 of his 12 shots, including 5 of 6 three-pointers and finished with nine points, three assists and one rebound to go along with three turnovers.

Redshirt freshman forward Ethan Happ did the next-most to Hayes to keep the Badgers within shouting range, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Junior forward Vitto Brown scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds, but made only 4 of his 13 shot attempts and fouled out late in the second half.

Copeland led the Hoyas with 15 points and Cameron was next with 14. Center Jessie Govan added 13 points and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera came alive in the second half to tally 12 to round out Georgetown's leaders.

After the Hoyas opened up the game with a 9-2 run, the Badgers pulled to within one point at 11-10 on a jumper by Hayes. Cameron and center Jessie Govan ensured that would be the closest they would get all night, connecting on three straight three-pointers to spark a 9-0 run that gave Georgetown a 20-10 lead.

Behind five points from Hayes, Wisconsin scored 12 of the next 17 points to close out the half.

After a three pointer by Zak Showalter pulled the Badgers to within two points at 36-34 with 14:29 remaining, Georgetown snapped off the next seven points and 11 of the next 13 to pull away for good.

Wisconsin will face the loser of the Duke-VCU semifinal on Sunday.