In the midst of a tough stretch for the No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (15-6 overall, 9-5 B1G), Greg Gard’s squad continued their stumbles against the top teams in the conference after a 15-point road loss to Illinois last weekend.
Looking for a chance to get back in the win column, the Badgers were back on the road late Wednesday night against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The Huskers came into the contest without a conference victory (4-11 overall, 0-8 B1G), and represented one of only two teams left of Wisconsin’s schedule that is not currently in the AP Top-25.
In a crucial game for the Badgers, Greg Gard made a shift in the starting lineup by inserting Nate Reuvers for Micah Potter, and it proved to be the correct call as Wisconsin was able to leave Lincoln with a 13-point win.
Wisconsin gets much needed win in Lincoln, taking down Nebraska 61 to 48.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 11, 2021
Jonathan Davis was the only player in double-figures for the #Badgers in gritty road win.
In the first few minutes of action Nebraska was able to grab an early 10-7 lead after two big three-point makes by Teddy Allen and Lat Mayen for the Cornhuskers.
Wisconsin was not nearly as efficient on the offensive end early, as they went on a five minute scoring drought while Nebraska was able to string together a 12-0 run to push their advantage to eight with just 10 minutes left in the first.
The Badgers were able to cut the deficit to only four points in the next two minutes of game action, and would eventually tie the game up at 25 apiece with 3:22 remaining in the half as Nebraska went ice cold.
To round out the first 20 minutes, Aleem Ford was able to connect on a last second three point shot to give the Badgers a three point lead on the road.
Aleem Ford with a big three-point make ends the first half to give the #Badgers 30-27 advantage.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 11, 2021
Not the prettiest game, but up 3 while shooting 30% from the floor... pic.twitter.com/fUJg3oAce4
In a sloppy four minutes coming out of the break, Jonathan Davis was able to to string together five straight points to extend the Wisconsin lead to seven points at the first media timeout.
Wisconsin was able to get things going a bit offensively over the next six minutes to take an 11-point edge with ten minutes left to play after getting into the bonus early in the half. To keep things going, five-straight points by Trevor Anderson would keep momentum in the Badgers favor and push the lead up to 14 points with under seven minutes to play.
Over the final minutes of the half Wisconsin was able to finish off the Cornhuskers for a 13-point win to obtain a nice road win with a tough stretch of games upcoming.
Notable stat lines:
- Jonathan Davis —> 10 points (4-of-7 from the floor), three rebounds, one assist
- D’Mitrik Trice —> nine points (3-of-14 from the floor), eight rebounds, three assists
- Brad Davison —> nine points (3-of-7 from the floor), three rebounds, three assists
- Lat Mayen (Nebraska) —> 14 points (6-of-12 from the floor), seven rebounds, one assist
Three things that stood out:
No. 1: Around the horn
The Wisconsin offense was very stagnant during the first half. The Badgers seemed content on passing the ball around the perimeter and settling for jump shots. In fact, Wisconsin shot a season high 19 threes in a half and only made five of them (26.3%).
There was a lack of post touches and the result was more three-point attempts than field goals attempts inside the arc. For a comparison sake, those 19 three-point attempts were more than they attempted in five games this season (interestingly they won each of those contests).
For the game, the Badgers would go on to shoot a total of 32 threes (a season high), and were only able to manage nine makes.
Wisconsin has had multiple issues that have combined to produce the recent struggles for the team, but a lack of offensive explosion, creativity, and ball movement is definitely one of the more pressing concerns at hand.
Listening to the BTN music between breaks at 10:30 on a weeknight. pic.twitter.com/2vU236LZ9E— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 11, 2021
No. 2: Rock fight
In a fairly ugly game, neither team was able to do much offensively.
For the game the Badgers shot 32.3% from the floor, and 28.1% from three, and if it wasn’t for a +13 shots advantage because of Nebraska turnovers they may have been in trouble.
Nebraska shot slightly better for the game at 36.7% from the floor and 33.3% from three, but turnovers and a lack of rhythm was very apparent throughout the game for the Cornhuskers.
Extended scoring droughts, a lack of ball movement, poor shot selection, and choppy overall play highlighted the night for both teams.
One of the lone bright spots for the Badgers was the effort that Jonathan Davis and Trevor Anderson put together off the bench with 18 points, and five rebounds, on 7-of-11 shooting combined. The guard tandem played a critical role in salvaging a win in what could otherwise be considered a clunker of a game.
"So this is basketball too" he wonders while watching the Wisconsin-Nebraska game. https://t.co/Rnj53oOtI4— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 11, 2021
No. 3: Turnovers
Wisconsin was able to get back into the game in the first half in large part because of a rash of turnovers by Nebraska. The Cornhuskers turned the ball over seven times in a six minute span, and that provided an opportunity for Wisconsin to make a run. With the Badgers struggling with their half-court offense, Wisconsin was able to parlay 12 first half turnovers by Nebraska into eight points.
In the second half the turnover issues continued to pop up for Nebraska, as they finished with a 19 turnovers that resulted in 15 points for the Badgers.
Wisconsin on the opposite end of the spectrum only turned the ball over eight times, after turning it over at least 10 times in the past three games.
While the shooting struggles were very apparent for the Wisconsin offense, they did not beat themselves with turnovers on the road.
Watching Wisconsin and Nebraska try to impose their respective will on each other tonight. pic.twitter.com/TQf8TzYOjb— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 11, 2021
Up next: Wisconsin is currently scheduled to take on No. 3 Michigan on Sunday. The Wolverines have not played recently due to a COVID-19 shutdown, but as of right now tip-time is set for noon CST and the game can be seen on CBS.