On Friday night, the No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (3-1 overall, 0-0 B1G) had their first road contest of the 2020-2021 season against in-state counterpart Marquette.
Last year the Badgers handled the Golden Eagles by 16 in Madison on a Sunday with a raucous white-out crowd in the stands.
This season, the game a shifted to Milwaukee in the Fiserv Forum, without fans in attendance due to COVID-19. As a result the atmosphere was not nearly as chaotic, but the game itself lived up to the hype. In a back and forth game, it was Marquette that exited victorious in last second fashion for the win.
In the opening moments of the game, the two teams were fairly even, exchanging baskets routinely into the second media timeout. While the Badgers held a two point lead thanks to seven points by Micah Potter, it was the defensive effort by both teams that stood out early.
Over the next few minutes Marquette (3-1 overall, 0-0 Big East) was able to take their first lead of the game while both Nate Reuvers, Brad Davison and Micah Potter sat on the bench with two fouls apiece.
Over the final four minutes, D’Mitrik Trice and Jonathan Davis did their best to keep the Badgers afloat, propelling the team on an 8-0 run at one point. In the end though, Marquette was able to take five point advantage into the break.
And DJ Carton hits a huge three before the buzzer to give Marquette a 35-30 lead into the half.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) December 5, 2020
Davis --> 6 points
Trice --> 11 points
Potter --> 7 points
In the first minute and a half of the second stanza it was the Badgers that snagged momentum, scoring the first five points. Marquette would go on a mini-run of their own in the following minutes, but by the eight minute mark the two teams were nearly dead even with Marquette holding a one-point lead.
Down the stretch, the two teams were nearly inseparable in the scoring department, as neither team was able to pull away. With two minutes left to play, Marquette held a one-point advantage, with Wisconsin in the double bonus.
In the final seconds, D’Mitrik Trice looked to be the hero with a huge make late, but then the senior guard was called for a blocking call with 0.9 seconds left on the clock that sent D.J. Carton to the free throw line. The Marquette sophomore made the first, but after missing the second, Golden Eagles freshman Justin Lewis was able to tap in a put-back for the two-point win.
Welp.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) December 5, 2020
Marquette gets the win on a tip in off the FT miss.
The #Badgers fall to 3-1 on the year.
Notable stat lines:
- D’Mitrik Trice —> 17 points (6-of- 14 shooting), six rebounds, two assists
- Jonathan Davis —> 12 points (4-of-7 shooting), six rebounds, one steal
- Nate Reuvers —> 11 points (4-of-10 shooting), three rebounds, two blocks
- Justin Lewis —> 18 points (6-of-10 shooting), eight rebounds, two blocks
Jonathan Davis now up to 12 points. The freshman wing has been good on both ends of the court with six boards. Needs to be aggressive down the stretch with the ball in his hands as the #Badgers have struggled to create offensively.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) December 5, 2020
Three things that stood out
No. 1: Foul trouble
The Badgers were forced to go to their bench early and often in the first half against Marquette as Brad Davison, Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers all had two fouls for a large chunk of the time, while Ben Carlson and Tyler Wahl also played with two fouls apiece.
Davis gave the team a huge lift with the three starters on the bench, as the freshmen wing poured in six points during their absence to keep the Badgers in it while Marquette cleaned up with 13 points from the free throw line.
Inhale: Jonathan Davis— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) December 5, 2020
Exhale: Foul trouble + the score pic.twitter.com/lsxV7ePgLp
In the second half, Wisconsin was the aggressor offensively in the first few minutes. Marquette was called for four fouls in the first minute of action, a stark difference from the six total fouls they tallied in the first. That would not stop Brad Davison and Tyler Wahl from proceeding to get into foul trouble of their own with three fouls early in the second half though.
Theo John of Marquette was dealing with foul trouble of his own throughout the game, but down the stretch Davison fouled out with just over two minutes remaining, as the Badgers shot free throws in the double bonus. In the end though, it was Marquette being in the bonus that ultimately sunk the Badgers after Trice was called for a blocking call with under a second remaining.
No. 2: Defensive effort
Both Wisconsin and Marquette were very good defensively in the game. Neither team was able to surpass 40% shooting from the field in the first half, as the two squads were very active on the defensive end.
In the second half the Badgers defense was relatively strong once again until the final moments. D.J. Carton was able to convert on a easy layup down the lane uncontested with under a minute remaining, while Micah Potter was unable to grab a crucial rebound that resulted in the Marquette win.
Wisconsin has played really well on the defensive end in all four of their game this season, and without a go-to scoring option to turn to every night, the Badgers will need to continue the strong effort on that end of the court. The defensive effort in the final moments though will haunt the team on film tomorrow.
No. 3: Half court offense
Wisconsin seemed out of rhythm in the their half court offense for the majority of the game. Part of that is likely due to foul trouble across the starting lineup, but the lack of a pure scoring threat reared its head in this one.
The Badgers had a season high 10 turnovers for the game, as Potter and Trice were particularly loose with the ball at times.
Half court struggles have popped up in the past for Wisconsin, but on the road in a big rivalry game, the ball movement was just not there and will need to be better going forward for Big Ten play. Give credit to Marquette for their aggressiveness on defense, but a senior laden team should be able to hum offensively better in the half court.
Up next: The Badgers are scheduled to be back home for the ACC-B1G Challenge on Wednesday evening at 6:15 p.m. CST on ESPN against Louisville. The Cardinals currently have paused all team activities due to COVID-19, so we shall see if the game happens next week.