The Wisconsin Badgers dropped an ugly 72-59 game to the Providence Friars on Tuesday, losing by 25 at one point before the eventual final score.
The game was over in the first half, where the Badgers were awful on both sides of the floor, scoring just 21 points on 26 percent shooting, while allowing 37 points on 63 percent shooting.
It was clear that the Badgers looked to go inside early, but that approach was to no avail, as forwards Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl shot just 2/11 from the field in the first half.
Crowl did get five offensive rebounds, and the team saw eight as a whole in the first half, but the Badgers scored only eight points off those opportunities, with their finishing struggles being highlighted once again.
After the game, a clearly disappointed Greg Gard chided on his veteran forwards for their lack of finishing in the paint, pointing to how Providence was able to score inside with their guys.
“Finish. Finish. [Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl have] been here nine years combined,’ Gard said. “Finish in the paint. I don’t know what else I can do or tell you. You got to finish. Get the ball that tight, better get to the foul line. You better finish. Oduro didn’t have trouble finishing. Hopkins didn’t have trouble finishing. Finish.”
Gard even alluded that freshmen John Blackwell, who was second on the team in points Tuesday, and Nolan Winter, who had three points and two rebounds in six minutes, were playing more physical than his veterans, according to BadgerBlitz’s Benjamin Worgull.
Greg Gard is the angriest/most perturbed he's been in a long time; calls out Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl for not finishing in the paint. Says in not so many words that freshmen Nolan Winter and John Blackwell are playing harder than they are.— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) November 15, 2023
The finishing woes were ugly for the Badgers on Tuesday, who converted just 7/20 of their layups, but they aren’t anything new.
Wisconsin struggled against Tennessee, shooting 16/30 near the rim, while Wahl and Crowl have failed to be consistent in that area for a majority of their careers.
Ahead of the season, Crowl acknowledged the finishing issues, sharing that he looked to get stronger this offseason as an avenue to become more physical, but that hasn’t translated yet to the court this season.
Wahl has showcased the ability to be a talented back-to-the-basket scorer in the post, but the consistency is key, especially given his more unorthodox approach in those situations, specifically with his push-hook shot.
Wahl and Crowl have both seen huge games in their careers, and are more than capable of piecing it together. But, they need to be consistent, which hasn’t been the case yet to start 2023, and is something Wisconsin can’t afford to linger, given their combined experience.