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Wisconsin basketball: Rutgers recap

Wisconsin goes down to Rutgers, 72-65, to fall to 1-1 in conference play.

Wisconsin v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

After getting back on track with a home win over Indiana, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team (5-5 overall, 1-1 B1G) was on the road again, this time against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-3 overall, 1-1 B1G).

Entering as 1.5 point underdogs, the Badgers were looking to keep the momentum going in New Jersey, against a Rutgers program that had beaten Wisconsin each match up in the Garden State.

In this game, Rutgers held up their end of the bargain, beating the Badgers by seven, 72-65.

In the opening moments of the game, Rutgers would jump out to a 9-0 lead, with the Badgers turning the ball over four times in the initial three minutes of game action. Wisconsin would ultimately settle in though, and cut the deficit to a mere one point with ten minutes remaining the half.

As the half wore on, Rutgers was unable to pull away too far, even as Wisconsin struggled from three-point range. Tyler Wahl would give the Badgers some tremendous minutes off the bench, but the turnover woes were too much, as Rutgers would extend their lead to four points with 4:27 seconds left to play in the half.

To conclude the first half, backup guard Trevor Anderson would take matters into his own hands. In the final three minutes, he hit two three-point buckets, to give the Badgers a lead at the half. Not was all positive at the half though, as Wisconsin was already up to 12 turnovers, and gave up eight offensive rebounds.

In the beginning portion of the second half, Rutgers came out of the intermission hot. Rutgers would go on a 7-0 run to take a five point lead at the first media timeout, as Wisconsin was only 1-of-5 shooting to the start the half.

Wisconsin was unable to make a counter-punch, as Rutgers build upon the momentum to take an eight point lead with 10:42 to play in the game. Rutgers was able to really get out in transition on the Badgers, while Wisconsin couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end outside of sporadic buckets.

Kobe King attempted to will the Badgers back into the game on offense, but in the end Rutgers would hold off Wisconsin to win 72 to 65 thanks to some stellar play by senior Geo Baker.

Notable stat lines:

  • Kobe King —> 18 points (7-of-12 from the floor), three rebounds, three assists
  • Brad Davison —> 9 points (3-of-7 from the floor), five rebounds
  • Trevor Anderson —> 11 points (4-of-5 from the floor), two assists
  • Geo Bake (Rutgers) —> 22 points (9-of-18 from the floor), four assists, three steals

Three things that stood out

No. 1: Rebounding margin

Rutgers entered Wednesday nights contest as one of the best rebounding teams in the Big Ten. That was representative in this game, as the Scarlet Knights crashed the offensive glass to the tune of eight offensive rebounds in the first half alone.

For the game, Rutgers would end up with 14 offensive rebounds, and out-rebounded the Badgers 40 to 25. Wisconsin has struggled on the boards at times this year, but Rutgers was all over the glass against the Badgers. Wisconsin will need to rebound much better moving forward, because the rebounding margin was a big reason for Rutgers winning this game.

No. 2: Ample turnovers

After a season-low four turnovers against Indiana, Wisconsin was very sloppy against the Scarlet Knights. In the first half, Wisconsin would turn the ball over 12 times, leading to 18 points for Rutgers, a whopping 56% of their points.

The turnover issues were somewhat cleaned up in the second half, but Wisconsin was unable to capitalize on their possessions. Wisconsin has now turned the ball over at least 10 times in all but three games on the season. The sloppy play needs to be cleaned up given the shooting struggles and shot selection issues that is also hampering the team.

No. 3: Bench attack

In the first half of the game, Wisconsin only played a total of eight players. The three players off the bench though were hyper influential to the Badgers hanging around. The bench accounted for almost 50% of the scoring output with 16 points from the trio of Brevin Pritzl, Trevor Anderson and Tyler Wahl.

Overall, the bench wasn’t able to do nearly as much in the second stanza, as Trevor Anderson was the only bench player to score. With junior Micah Potter set to return against Milwaukee, further reinforcements are on the way, but the Wisconsin bench played a key role in keeping things close against Rutgers.

Up next: Wisconsin will be back in action next Saturday, December 21, when the Milwaukee Panthers come to town. Tip-off will be at 4 p.m. CST.