It’s been the calling card of this young, unproven Wisconsin Badgers squad: staying close in games but not pushing forward to a ‘W.’
On Wednesday night, with the game tied with under two minutes left, Wisconsin could not regain a final lead as it lost to the Temple Owls 59–55 in Philadelphia.
UW (4–6, 1–1 Big Ten) did not score in the last 3:27 of the game while missing its last five shots. The team shot 41.1 percent for the game (23 of 56), and only could convert five of 20 three-point attempts.
Redshirt junior forward Ethan Happ scored a game-high 23 points (11 of 19) and grabbed six rebounds, but no other Badger scored in double figures in the loss. Junior forward Khalil Iverson recorded nine points and six rebounds, with freshmen Aleem Ford and Brad Davison each scoring eight points.
Wisconsin allowed Temple (5–2) to shoot 45.3 percent from the field. Guard Shizz Alston scored a team-high 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting on Wednesday night. The Badgers held 6’8 guard Quinton Rose in check with nine points on 4-of-10 shooting, but forward Obi Enechionyia and guard Josh Brown combined for 22 points and 15 rebounds.
The Badgers trailed 31–28 at halftime after Alston’s three-pointer broke a tie with 32 seconds left.
UW shot 11-of-25 (44 percent) in the first 20 minutes but only hit 27.3 percent (three of 11) from three-point range. Temple, on the other hand, connected on 46.7 percent (14 of 30) and three of nine from downtown.
Happ led the Badgers with 10 points and five rebounds on 5-of-7 shooting. Davison started off hot after not scoring in Monday’s win against Penn State with eight points (3-of-3 shooting, including hitting both three-point attempts) and three rebounds. Happ and Davison combined to shoot 8-of-10 from the field, with the rest of the team 3-of-15.
Rose only scored four points in the first half, but Alston had the hot hand for the Owls, scoring a game-high 12 points on 5-of-9 from the floor, hitting both three-point attempts. He also contributed four assists.
An Ethan Happ fastbreak is the best kind of fastbreak. pic.twitter.com/vtnHyF4ThZ— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) December 7, 2017
The teams went back and forth to start the second half until Temple’s 8–0 run led to a 47–41 advantage. Wisconsin responded with a 6–0 run of its own with Happ’s three straight lay-ups to tie the game back up with 8:05 left in the game.
The teams traded one-point leads four times in under a two-minute span before the Badgers pushed their advantage up to 55–52 with under three-and-a-half minutes remaining.
From there, Greg Gard’s team did not score again as the Owls eventually took a two-point lead on two Alston free throws with 1:09 left in the game.
After Alston airballed a three-point attempt to give the Badgers the last possession with the shot clock off, true freshman Kobe King missed a three-pointer with 12 seconds left. Alston’s two free throws extended the lead to four to end all scoring
Wisconsin now looks ahead to Marquette for a Saturday morning, in-state battle.