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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Badgers bow out of Big Ten Tournament early, lose to MSU by six

The Badgers just didn’t have “it” on Friday night and will now await their NCAA Tournament seeding on Sunday.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament- Wisconsin vs Michigan State Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday evening, the No. 2 seed Wisconsin Badgers bowed out of the Big Ten Tournament early, losing to the No. 7 seed Michigan State Spartans, 69-63. Brad Davison scored 23 points and Chucky Hepburn made a trio of late threes to try and drag the Badgers across the finish line, but a rough outing from Johnny Davis and a dominant performance from MSU’s Marcus Bingham down low were too much to overcome.

The game got off to a classic Big Ten start with neither team really able to score. The Badgers missed seven of their first eight shots from the field, their first four free throws and didn’t make a single three-pointer all half. In fact, neither team made a three pointer (combined 0-for-11) in the first 20 minutes as the Badgers shot 24% from the field and the Spartans weren’t much better, nailing only 33% of their field goals.

Johnny Davis could hardly buy a foul call, let alone a bucket, and entered halftime shooting 1-of-10 from the floor for a mere four points. Davison led Wisconsin’s offense with 10 points while MSU was paced by Julius Marble who had eight points and four rebounds.

Both teams played pretty good defense, but there was also a fair amount of bad shot making going on. Wisconsin was only 3-for-10 on layups in the first half while the Spartans were 2-for-5, which was basically a Steph Curry-esque shooting streak with how these two teams shot.

The Badgers bigs struggled with foul trouble throughout the first half as Steven Crowl had two fouls and only played five minutes while Chris Vogt got three fouls and played 10 minutes. Ben Carlson played nine minutes in the first half and had three rebounds and a steal.

Entering halftime down two, 24-22, was a big win for the Badgers and they used that slight momentum to come out of the gates in the second half shooting well. Tyler Wahl scored right away, followed by Crowl rattling off five points and then a Davis layup gave the Badgers their first lead of the game, 31-30, with 15:58 to go in the game.

The Spartans went on a 12-2 run halfway through the second half, with Bingham providing much of the scoring punch, and it looked like they might run away with things. However, the Badgers hung around and some clutch three point shooting from Hepburn evened the score at 58 with just under two minutes to go.

MSU ended the game making eight of their last 10 field goals and were also clutch from the free throw line, making six in a row over the last 21 seconds of game time. The Badgers, on the other hand, were 12-of-21 from the charity stripe with no miss more glaring than Davison’s and-one attempt with 26 seconds left that would’ve narrowed the lead to two.

Wisconsin shot incredibly poorly from the field, lost the rebounding battle, turned the ball over the same amount of times as MSU and scored one bench point compared to MSU’s 18. The Badgers have been able to win a lot of these types of games this season, but the bill might be coming due at the most inopportune time for UW.

Notable stat lines:

  • Brad Davison —> 23 points (8-of-15 from the floor), three rebounds, three assists
  • Johnny Davis —> 11 points (3-of-19 from the floor), 11 rebounds, three assists, one steal
  • Chucky Hepburn —> 11 points (4-of-9 from the floor), four assists, three rebounds
  • Marcus Bingham, Jr. (MSU) —> 19 points (7-of-11 from the floor), 11 rebounds, three blocks

Up next: Wisconsin will await their NCAA Tournament seed when it is announced on Sunday evening after the Big Ten title game.