Wisconsin finds itself in another in-conference battle and trails Minnesota at halftime, 34-28. Frank Kaminsky picked up two early fouls and didn't play for over 17 minutes in the first half. The Gophers took advantage of Kaminsky's absence, pounding the Badgers down low with Maurice Walker. Nigel Hayes, Zach Bohannon and Vitto Brown all took turns trying to stop him to no avail. Walker already has a career-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
It did not end with Walker, either. In what has become all too familiar result of Wisconsin's defense lately, Minnesota has 22 points in the paint and is shooting over 51 percent from the floor. Several questionable jumpers early in the shot clock have led to easy transition layups for the Gophers.
Despite missing Kaminsky and the continued defensive lapses, Wisconsin is still within striking distance, thanks in large part to Nigel Hayes. Hayes and Sam Dekker lead WIsconsin in scoring at seven points a piece, but it was Hayes' work in the post that kept the Badgers close. Hayes had several nice moves to draw fouls, but only hit one of four free throws.
The Badgers were down by as many as eight points in the first half but managed to battle back to within 30-28 on a Bronson Koenig three-pointer with two minutes left in the half. However, Minnesota got two more baskets in the paint to push the halftime deficient to six.
The return of Kaminsky in the second half should help the Badgers on both ends of the floor. But they will need to have someone step up on the offensive end if they want to come away with a conference road win tonight.