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Wisconsin basketball: No. 20 Saint Mary’s game recap

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The Badgers battled the Gaels into overtime but ultimately fell to Saint Mary’s by two.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at St. Mary’s Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball is back! Wisconsin took on No. 20 Saint Mary’s in a neutral site matchup of tournament teams from a year ago to start the season. The Badgers came in as slight underdogs and Wisconsin eventually fell in a nail biter 65-63 in overtime.

Taking place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, of all places, the Badgers jumped out to an early lead, but star guard Jordan Ford rattled off 15 points in the first half to help the Gaels go into halftime with a 30-24 lead. The first half was full of poor shooting and turnovers.

In the second half, Wisconsin was able to chip away and tie the game up late riding a phenomenal stretch of play by Nate Reuvers. The junior big man played well offensively and on the boards. With 13.3 seconds left to play Wisconsin was unable to convert a last second three point shot by Aleem Ford, which lead to overtime.

In overtime Wisconsin wasn’t able to take advantage of their opportunities. The Badgers held the lead on multiple occasions, but sputtered down the stretch. Ford missed a game winning three pointer as time expired.

Notable stat lines:

  • Nate Reuvers —> 22 points (8-18 from the floor), six rebounds, four blocks.
  • Brad Davison —> 16 points (6-13 from the floor), four rebounds.
  • Jordan Ford (Saint Mary’s) —> 26 points (11-24 from the floor), two assists, 4-8 from behind the three point line.
  • Wisconsin’s bench —> two points, four rebounds, two assists

Three things that stood out

No. 1: Sloppiness

As expected, there was some struggles in the first game. Both teams had turnover issues. Wisconsin turned the ball over 14 times, while Saint Mary’s had 15. In addition to the turnover problems, neither team shot the ball extremely well. Wisconsin was 42.3% from the field and 26.3% from three, Saint Mary’s shot 39.3% from the field but 44.4% from three which ultimately was a major reason for the Badger loss.

No. 2: Rebounding problems

Saint Mary’s out-rebounded Wisconsin by eight (36-28 total). Late in the game a couple of offensive rebounds loomed large. Wisconsin struggled at times to keep hold of rebounds, and against Big Ten opponents that will only become tougher. Saint Mary’s has some added length in the front court, but Wisconsin wasn’t good enough on the boards outside of Reuvers, who had a solid game.

No. 3: The Pentagon

The court for this neutral site game was not great. The dark brown floor paired with the rainbow of three point lines made for a interesting viewing experience to say the least.