The Wisconsin Badgers (13-10 overall, 6-6 B1G) traveled to Minneapolis for a Border Battle game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-10 overall, 6-6 B1G) and got steam rolled by a Gophers team that is fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives. The Gophers won 70-52, but it didn’t even feel that close as most of the second half was a formality.
The first half got started with both teams scorching the nets. Minnesota was scoring inside at will thanks to B1G Player of the Year candidate Daniel Oturu, while the Badgers started off the game shooting 4-of-5 from deep to keep it close. At the first media timeout, the Gophers were shooting 67% from the field and the Badgers were at 63%.
Both teams cooled off a bit through the rest of the first half, but Minnesota still ended the half shooting 55% from the floor (50% from three on 5-of-10) while the Badgers plummeted to 33.5% (46.2% from three on 6-of-13) shooting. Wisconsin had trouble keeping track of Payton Willis, who was returning from an injury and scored 13 points in the first half to lead all scorers. Nate Reuvers led the way for Wisconsin with a dozen points in the first period.
The Gophers, because this was how their night was going, drilled a buzzer beating three from well beyond the arc, which was correctly waved off. Minnesota was still up 45-32 at half and Wisconsin couldn’t get anything going.
First half stats:— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 6, 2020
Time in lead: 0:00
Time in lead: 19:15
After halftime you might have thought that the Badgers would come out fired up to get back in the game and you’d be dead wrong. Wisconsin turned the ball over twice on their first two possessions while Minnesota had threes from Oturu and Gabe Kalscheur. Greg Gard called timeout to try and stop the bleeding, but Minnesota took a 20-point lead into the first media timeout of the second half.
Badgers on a 2-0 run and Pitino is forced to call timeout.— Bart T rvik (@totally_t_bomb) February 6, 2020
Oturu continued his assault on the Badgers defense in the second half, scoring from all over the court. Threes, baseline jumpers, at the rim, you name it he was scoring it. The Gophers out-hustled and out-worked the Badgers to loose balls and on the boards. After the opening thee point salvo in the second half the game was basically over except for all of the time left on the clock.
The Badgers ended the game shooting 28.4 percent (22.2 percent in the second half) while the Gophers were content to let Wisconsin waste possession after possession and ease their way to a double-digit win, their first at home over the Badgers in five tries.
In a surprise, Brad Davison was not involved in any sort of extracurricular shenanigans and was loudly cheered multiple times after mistakes. He didn’t make a shot from the floor and ended the game with four points, two rebounds and two assists. Minnesota’s Marcus Carr was one rebound away from a triple-double scoring 12 points, dishing out 11 assists and grabbing nine rebounds.
Pitino is asked about Brad Davison:— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 6, 2020
"Brad is a good kid. Our guys are friends with him. There are a lot bigger villains in this world than Brad Davison. I like him a lot as a kid."
Notable stat lines:
- Nate Reuvers —> 14 points (6-of-18 from the floor), three rebounds, one block
- D’Mitrik Trice —> 10 points (4-of-13 from the floor), five rebounds, six assists
- Micah Potter —> 11 points (4-of-11 from the floor), 15 rebounds, one block
- Daniel Oturu (Minnesota) —> 17 points (6-of-10 from the floor), 14 rebounds, four blocks
Three things that stood out:
No. 1: points in the paint
Minnesota outscored Wisconsin 24 points to eight in the paint in the first half. For a team that prides itself on playing stout defense and making the opposing team take difficult shots, the Badgers sure looked like they forgot all about that ethos. Take a look at this gem of a stat from the first half!
SPEAKING OF POINTS IN THE PAINT:— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 6, 2020
The Badgers have made two layups/dunks AND MISSED SEVEN!
The Gophers have made 11 and missed five. SMDH.
No. 2: shooting woes return
After shooting 55.7% from the field in the first half of the win over Michigan State over the weekend, the Badgers have shot 25%, 35.5% and 22.2% in their past three halves. That’s just not going to cut it and it’s a major reason why Wisconsin blew a big halftime lead against the Spartans and only won by one and then got their doors blown off in Minneapolis.
Greg Gard was not happy with how the team shot in the game. pic.twitter.com/scHzL88lKR— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 6, 2020
No. 3: what is this team?
I still have no Earthly idea which Badgers team will show up on a given night. Missing two starters? Beat the No. 14 ranked team in the country. Head to Minneapolis a place where they’ve won four games in a row? Get blasted by 18 points. Tune in this weekend for another edition of “Which Badgers Are Here?” when they return to the Kohl Center.
Gard was asked if he thought there was an emotional letdown after the big win against Michigan State last weekend. pic.twitter.com/uWYbYdwqer— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 6, 2020
Up next: Wisconsin returns home to take on Ohio State at noon CT on Sunday on CBS. The 2000 Final Four team will be honored during the game.