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Wisconsin basketball: New Mexico recap

Gard, your team’s three point shooting...woof.

Roman Legends Classic- Wisconsin Badgers v New Mexico Lobos Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

After losing in a semi-final matchup with the Richmond Spiders yesterday, the Wisconsin Badgers (4-3) were back in action Tuesday afternoon against the New Mexico Lobos (6-2). Taking part in the consolation game of the Legends Classic, Wisconsin was the presumed favorite against the Mountain West foe. New Mexico however was the better team in this one, winning 59-50.

In the early goings, Wisconsin carried over the sloppy play from the Richmond game, but were able to tie the game up at 11-11 with 11:24 remaining the first half following a 5-0 New Mexico run.

In a low scoring and ugly affair, Nate Reuvers and Aleem Ford were the primary players to carry the offensive load inside during the first 12 minutes.

In the moments leading up to halftime, things only got worse for the Badgers. New Mexico was finally able to hit some shots, while Wisconsin continued to do little of value on the offensive end.

At the half, New Mexico had a 29-20 lead, while shooting only 44% from the field, and the Badgers were even worse at an ice cold 12.5% from behind the three-point arc, with 10 turnovers.

At the start of the second half, Wisconsin came out and...continued to struggle. After a Brevin Pritzl three-point bomb, the Badgers went on a run to cut the deficit to only five points at the under twelve timeout.

New Mexico was unwilling to let the Badgers chip away further at the lead though, as the teams traded baskets up until the eight minute mark.

In the final moments of the game, Wisconsin was unable to make the run necessary to win it though, and New Mexico responded to every punch the Badgers threw at them to win by nine.

Notable stat lines:

  • Nate Reuvers —> 16 points (7-of-9 from the floor), five rebounds, five fouls, five turnovers
  • D’Mitrik Trice —> 11 points (4-of-12 from the floor), seven rebounds
  • JaQuan Lyle—> 14 points (5-of-14 from the floor), nine rebounds

Three things that stood out

No. 1: Empty possessions

A night after 15 turnovers hindered the Wisconsin offense in the loss to Richmond, the hangover compounded itself in game two. The Badgers had 10 turnovers in the first half alone, and finished with 14 total turnovers.

The sloppiness was very apparent throughout the tournament, and ultimately was a big reason for the team’s struggles. With more talented competition now on the horizon, the turnover issues will need to be cleaned up quickly.

No. 2: Offensive stagnation

The swing offense is predicated on quick ball movement and exploiting mismatches. Too often the Badgers were instead slow with passing the ball around, and players were not ready when they were presented with opportunities. The team was apathetic offensively, and the majority of players were hesitant to make plays with the ball in their hands.

In the first half, the Badgers had two shot clock violations, indicative of a lack of team confidence. Wisconsin passed and shot the ball so well in two previous contests with Marquette and UW-Green Bay, but that momentum was invisible in New York, as Wisconsin only had six assists against the Lobos.

No. 3: Poor shooting

For the game the Badgers shot under 36% from the field, and were a putrid 2-of-24 from three-point range, not nearly good enough to win against a middle school team. The three-point shooting issues have popped up this year at points, but this game was by far the worst example of it.

With Wisconsin now done with the Legends Classic, the Badgers will need to rebound as a team, figuratively, to regain their confidence. The results in Brooklyn were not pretty, and the players will be the first people to tell you so.

Up next: Wisconsin will be on the road again next week heading to North Carolina State on Wednesday night as part of the B1G/ACC Challenge.