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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Loyola Chicago game recap

The Badgers struggled early but eventually found their shot and notched a 14-point win over a tough Ramblers team.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Chicago at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

After Northern Iowa canceled the rest of their non-conference games, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (5-1 overall, 0-0 B1G) had to pivot quickly to find a new opponent. Luckily for them, Loyola (Chicago) was able to make the quick trip north to Madison to fill in.

Coming into the game undefeated at 3-0, the Ramblers represented another quality opponent for the Badgers to go against before getting into the meat of their schedule.

On Tuesday evening, Wisconsin was able to hold off Loyola Chicago for a nice 14-point win behind some strong three-point shooting.

In the first four minutes of the game, the Badgers were unable to make a shot, while Loyola got off to a strong 7-0 lead, which represented the largest deficit of the entire season for UW.

After missing their first eight shots, the Badgers were able to string together a couple baskets and tie the game up over the next four minutes at 10 points apiece.

After the second media timeout, Wisconsin would keep the momentum going, while Loyola couldn’t went on a three and a half minute scoring drought to push the Badger lead to seven.

To round out the first half, Wisconsin was able to maintain their advantage thanks to some good three-point shooting and strong defense. At the intermission, the Badgers were up five over the Ramblers.

In the first few minutes of the second half. the two teams continued to keep things close, even as Nate Reuvers picked up his third foul of the evening.

With Reuvers on the bench, back-to-back triples by Trevor Anderson and Micah Potter would push the advantage to 10 points with 14:11 left to go in the game to start a big run by the Badgers. By the 11:27 mark, the Badgers were up 16 due to a 17-2 run.

At one point Wisconsin was up by as many as 18, but then a flurry of fouls by the Badgers allowed the Ramblers into the double bonus and for them to close the deficit to only nine with 7:19 remaining in the second half.

Over the final seven minutes of the game, the Badgers were able to reassert themselves and hold off Loyola for the two touchdown win.

Notable stat lines:

  • D’Mitrik Trice —> 17 points (6-of-15 shooting), one rebound, two assists
  • Micah Potter —> 13 points (3-of-6 shooting), seven rebounds, one assist
  • Brad Davison —> 17 points (4-of-7 shooting), two rebounds, two assists
  • Cameron Krutwig (LUC) —> 19 points (7-of-13 shooting), five rebounds, two assists

Three things that stood out

No. 1: Tempo

Both teams traditionally have a similar path to success.

  1. Play strong defense
  2. Dictate a methodical pace of play
  3. Win with your half court offense

In this game, neither team wavered from their normal plan. The game played out as expected as it was a defensive slugfest with that saw shooting struggles from the field, decent three point shooting, and the seniors taking charge of the game.

While this brand of basketball might not be overly exciting to all fans, this was a throwback game that matched exactly what each team wanted to do.

No. 2: Fouls...again

In the previous two contests the Badgers recorded 44 fouls. Foul troubles made it extremely hard for the Badgers to get into any semblance of a rhythm in terms of a rotation, and ultimately was a big part in why Wisconsin fell to Marquette.

Against Loyola, the Badgers were able to stay out of significant foul trouble for the first two-thirds of the game. In the first half, Wisconsin only recorded five team fouls, and was able to get to the line six times as the Ramblers had 10 fouls.

Early in the second half Nate Reuvers would pick up his third foul of the night and head to the bench, but in total Wisconsin wouldn’t have many issues until midway through the second half when the whistles came in droves.

Overall, Wisconsin was much better defensively at not fouling, but when Loyola went on a huge run in the second half it was fouls that paved the way. Wisconsin will need to continue to work at staying out of foul trouble, because it appears that officials will calling things tight this season.

No. 3: Three-point shooting

While neither team was overly efficient on the offensive end in the first half, however the Badgers shot the ball well from deep all night long.

Despite only making 21.7% of their two-point attempts in the first half, Wisconsin was able to hold a lead in large part because as a team they made 50% of their three-point attempts. On the flipside, Loyola Chicago, who is came into the game shooting 41.3% from deep, only made 33% of their attempts.

In the second half, the Badgers only kept their hot shooting going. For the game Wisconsin would finish a balmy 10-of-18 (56%) from three, a stark contrast from the first few minutes of the game where the team couldn’t buy a bucket.

Up next: Buckle up for an action packed Saturday, as the men’s basketball team will be back on the hardwood against No. 23 Louisville as part of the B1G/ACC Challenge. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. CST and can be seen on ESPN2. After that the Wisconsin football team will battle for the Axe against Minnesota at 3 p.m. CST.