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Wisconsin basketball: N.C. State recap

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The Badgers laid another egg, falling to N.C. State 69-54.

FRANCE-ECONOMY-AUTOMOBILE-EMPLOYMENT-DEMO Photo credit should read PASCAL LACHENAUD/AFP via Getty Images

More than a week removed from an embarrassing showing in New York for the Legends Classic, in which Wisconsin dropped a pair of games due to poor shooting, the Badgers were once again on the road...and lost a game due to poor shooting.

On Wednesday night the Wisconsin Badgers (4-4) traveled to PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina for a showdown with the North Carolina State Wolfpack (6-2) as part of the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Entering the contest, the Badgers were slight underdogs, and N.C, State was clearly the better team Wednesday, beating the Badgers 69-54.

In the early going neither team could get started offensively. In fact, the two teams were tied up at four points apiece after nearly seven minutes of game action. That didn’t last long though, as NC State would go on a 9-2 run to jump out to a 15-9 lead halfway through the first half. Wisconsin would rally and go on a run of their own, largely due to the hustle of freshman Tyler Wahl, to cut the deficit.

In the later stages of the first half, both teams jousted back and forth with the shooting struggles still apparent. Kobe King was aggressive during the first half, attacking the rim, while D’Mitrik Trice was able to help out in myriad different ways during the stretch. At the half though, N.C. State would take a last second 32-30 lead due to a half-court shot as time expired by Markell Johnson.

To begin the second half, Jericole Hellems started right where he left off with some hot shooting, while Aleem Ford was able to make some plays to keep Wisconsin in it for the first five minutes.

Shortly thereafter NC State went on a run to extend their lead to nine points with 13:27 left in the first half forcing a Greg Gard timeout. Out of the timeout, very little changed, as N.C. State was able to hit some big baskets to push the lead to 14 points at the 10 minute mark.

Wisconsin would eventually go on a 5-0 run of their own to cut the lead to single digits with just over eight minutes remaining, but it was not meant to be. N.C. State never relented down the stretch and pulled away to win by 15 points.

Notable stat lines:

  • Nate Reuvers —> 11 points (5-of-14 from the floor), three rebounds, three blocks
  • Aleem Ford —> 13 points (5-of-10 from the floor), seven rebounds
  • Kobe King —> 11 points (4-of-11 from the floor), four rebounds
  • Jericole Hellems (NC State) —> 23 points (8-of-13 from the floor), four rebounds

Three things that stood out

No. 1: Hustling folks

Although only a freshman, Tyler Wahl was vital to the limited Wisconsin success in the first half and kept them in the game. The Minnesota native was able to create some second chance opportunities with three offensive rebounds in the first half, paired with four points and six total rebounds.

For the game, Wahl would finish with a solid stat line of five points and eight rebounds. As he continues to earn additional minutes, his confidence and comfortability should only improve. As one of the first players off the bench he has had solid moments this season, but his effort was crucial in this road contest, especially in the first half.

No. 2: Offensively challenged

While this has not something that is new, shooting issues were once again painfully visible against N.C. State. The Badgers have primarily struggled at shooting from three-point range. In this contest the team shot a putrid 21.7% from three, and that inefficiency trickled down to free throws as well, where Wisconsin only shot 46.7%.

After a long break in game action, most had hopes that the Wisconsin shooting would come back around, but that never materialized Wednesday night. Wisconsin will undoubtedly need to turn it around in both phases of offense to compete in a top-heavy Big Ten, as once again the Badgers finished the game with a ridiculous five-plus minute scoring drought down the stretch.

The offense has simply not been good enough this year to compete at any level, especially these past three games.

No. 3: Boo birds

Getting a healthy heckling of boos each time he touched the ball, Brad Davison was non-existent against the Wolfpack. The junior guard only scored three points on five shots. In the past three games he has a combined 10 points, and is shooting a whopping 15% from the field in those contests.

While he is only a singular individual within the greater part of a struggling offensive unit, but his shooting issues have been clearly evident lately. With very little scholarship depth behind him to pick up the slack, Davison’s game will need to pick up immensely moving forward.

Up next: Wisconsin will welcome the Indiana Hoosiers (8-0) to the Kohl Center in a bounce back opportunity on Saturday afternoon.