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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Three quick takeaways vs North Texas

The Badgers collapsed hard in a devastating way to officially end their season.

The Wisconsin Badgers lost 56-54 to the North Texas Mean Green in the NIT Final Four, going scoreless over the last 9:07 to end their season on a sour note.

After a scorching-hot first half where the Badgers scored 41 points to take a 12-point lead to head into halftime, Wisconsin collapsed in the second half, shooting just 24% from the field and making one of their last 16 field goal attempts to ultimately lose in a close contest.

After a season where the Badgers consistently battled their late-game woes, Wisconsin compiled a performance reminiscent of their disappointing season in the second half in a game that officially ended their season.

Here are the quick takeaways from Wisconsin’s loss on Tuesday.

Chucky Hepburn

Chucky Hepburn was a tale of two halves on Tuesday, catching fire with five straight three-pointers in the first half.

That provided an early lead for the Badgers, but the Mean Green pulled back in the second half, where Hepburn couldn't buy a basket.

The sophomore guard proceeded to miss his final seven shots from the field on a day when the Badgers desperately needed his offense.

Normally, Hepburn’s 15 points would've been enough to secure the victory, but with the entire team collapsing offensively, his performance in the second half wasn't enough to put the Badgers over the top.

The big men

In addition to Hepburn’s early performance, Tyler Wahl shined with an early 4/5 from the field, showcasing signs of a potential takeover game in what could be his final minutes of college basketball.

Wahl saw just three shot attempts following that, however, displaying a more passive approach, while knocking down just 2/5 of his free throws.

Similarly, Steven Crowl had 10 points on 5/9 shooting, scoring six in the second half on 60% efficiency.

The bigs were able to work well when receiving enough volume offensively, but that didn't happen enough on Tuesday, which led to a more inefficient performance from the team.

Scoring drought

It was bound to happen, and came at the worst possible moment for the Badgers.

Wisconsin’s nine-minute scoring drought sealed away their fate with the season on the line, compiled with several mistakes and shortcomings, epitomized by the final possession where neither big wanted to shoot the ball for the Badgers resulted in a turnover.

Throughout the season, the Badgers had been marred by extensive scoring droughts, but, with the pressure off in the NIT tournament, it seemed as if their offense had taken a step forward, both in individual confidence and as a team.

However, Wisconsin reverted to its old ways, struggling to make shots as the game dwindled, leading to a North Texas victory, as the Mean Green slowly chipped at the lead to make the comeback.

It’s clear the Badgers need better individual shot creators, as they currently don’t possess a single player that has the ability and confidence to take over games, which has left them hanging on several occasions this season.

But, for now, onto the offseason.