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Wisconsin cannot overcome slow start in 60–52 loss to Northwestern

Poor shooting and a bad first five minutes hamper another opportunity.

MADISON — Once again, the Wisconsin Badgers started off slow and poor shooting dampened their chances in a 60–52 loss against Northwestern on Thursday night at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin (10–14, 3–8 Big Ten) found itself in a hole within the first five minutes of the game with a 17-point deficit that it could not dig itself out from. The team only connected on 32.8 percent of its field goal attempts for the game (19 of 58), and once again, three-point shooting was also an issue (seven of 26).

Four Badgers scored in double figures against the Wildcats; however, they were the only four players to score for Greg Gard’s team.

Despite a poor second half shooting from the field, Northwestern (14–10, 5–6) connected on 50 percent of its shots (21 of 42) and was led by guard Dererk Pardon’s game-high 17 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting. Fellow guard Scottie Lindsey scored 14 points (4-of-12 on field-goal attempts) for the Wildcats.

Junior forward Khalil Iverson again showed up in a big manor for Wisconsin, contributing a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds in the loss, Redshirt junior forward Ethan Happ tallied 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists but unfortunately also committed four of Wisconsin’s 11 turnovers on the evening.

It was a rough night for redshirt sophomore Brevin Pritzl, who was held scoreless on 0-of-11 shooting while not connecting on a three-point attempt in nine opportunities.

Northwestern started the game on that 18–1 run five-plus minutes into the game, with Wisconsin committing four turnovers and only getting on the scoreboard with Happ making one of two free-throw attempts.

UW fought back, going on its own 10–1 run to pull within eight at 19–11—Iverson sparking the team in contributing five during that span—yet NU pushed it back to a 15-point lead at 30–15 after countering with an 11–4 run.

Later on, an Aleem Ford three-pointer pulled Wisconsin within 35–26 with 2:47 remaining in the first half but came up empty handed until halftime, missing three field-goal attempts and committing two turnovers in that span.

Ford scored 12 points (four of seven from three-point range) and reeled in five rebounds, reaching double figures in point totals for the first time since UW’s win over UMass Lowell on Dec. 30.

Coming off the 37–26 halftime deficit, Wisconsin continuously pulled the game within single digits but could not come within a two-possession deficit until late in the game. Again, poor shooting nullified any attempt at a comeback, though UW made it close down the stretch.

Both teams struggled mightily during the second half, combining for a chilly 15-of-52 from the field (28.8 percent). Wisconsin could not capitalize on Northwestern’s 5-of-18 shooting and eight turnovers in those final 20 minutes, going ice-cold themselves in shooting under 30 percent (10 of 34).

Late in the contest, the Badgers shrunk the deficit to six points after Ford’s fourth three-pointer with 1:21 remaining at 52–46. Northwestern went on to convert all eight of its free throw attempts in the final 71 seconds—four each by Lindsey and guard Bryant McIntosh.

McIntosh finished with 10 points and four assists with seven turnovers for the Wildcats, who as a team made 13 of their 15 free throws in the second half.

True freshman guard Brad Davison scored 11 points (four of 13 on field-goal attempts) for Wisconsin, but only committed one turnover.