Not in the Cards

Rivalry games always seem to be characterized by a few good plays at certain points of the game. In Marquette's Saturday afternoon 77-63 loss to Wisconsin, it was a steady onslaught of consistent play from the Badgers that held Marquette dormant and prevented MU from even sniffing an important road victory.

Rivalry games always seem to be characterized by a few good plays at certain points of the game. In Marquette's Saturday afternoon 77-63 loss to Wisconsin, it was a steady onslaught of consistent play from the Badgers that held Marquette dormant and prevented MU from even sniffing an important road victory.

The Golden Eagles stayed in the game early with steady play from Dominic James (eight first half points), and Steve Novak, who scored nine points on 4-8 shooting in the first half. Marquette opened up a 25-21 lead with 7:20 left in the first period on a jumper by James. But it was all Red and White from there. The Badgers closed out the first half on a 23-6 run highlighted by a trio of three pointers from Wisconsin guard Kammron Taylor and never relinquished the lead.

"We had a time out at the eight minute mark with four point lead," said Coach Tom Crean. "But I never liked our demeanor the rest of the game. We lost our aggressiveness defensively, we didn't have any ball pressure, we gave up lay-ups, and on offense we settled for jump shots."

Another key factor in the first half was the play of Wisconsin's lone senior, Ray Nixon, who scored 11 on 4-6 shooting. Nixon scored for the first time ever in his four year career against Marquette. The 6-7 guard from Milwaukee's Dominican High School had been averaging just four points per game before today. He finished with a career high 15.

"Ray Nixon did what seniors do," said Crean. "A lot of credit goes to Ray; he has made himself a better player."

"My teammates found me early in the game and I made some open shots," Nixon said. "Marquette was really aggressive and they overplayed on the wings. I took what they gave me and tried to get to the lane as much as I could."

Wisconsin continued to hammer the lane in the second half amassing 28 total points in the paint. Marquette couldn't cut the lead any closer than nine thanks to clutch shooting by the Badgers, both from the field and from the charity stripe. Marquette was whistled for 28 total fouls to Wisconsin's 16, which helped the Badgers get into the bonus just nine minutes into the second period. The huge disparity in fouls called sent Wisconsin to the line 24 times in the second half, and although they only made 15 of those free throws, it was enough to maintain a comfortable lead on the Golden Eagles.

"We really played sound defensively all game and I thought we moved the ball well to get good shots," said Coach Bo Ryan of his teams play in his 100th career victory at Wisconsin. "We were able to get points and they came up dry. I'd love to tell you that it was a coaching move but it wasn't, we just executed."

It just wasn't in the cards for Marquette Saturday afternoon. After winning home games against South Dakota State and Valparaiso this past week, Marquette(6-3) had another opportunity for a big non conference win in the early season. And like 62 of the 65 games played in the Kohl Center under Bo Ryan, the Badgers(7-1) came out on top.

Marquette can take solace in the fact that they did out rebound UW despite playing several different defenses including man to man and a "match up zone." Marquette had been out rebounded in five of their eight games coming into Madison. Though Crean was pleased with the edge in some of the statistical categories, he knows that his team just didn't play well enough to win a game of this magnitude.

"We just have to help them grow; that's where coaching comes in. When you are building a lead on the road, you have to play with that swagger and you have to want to keep it going. We have to build our aggressiveness."

Marquette will return home for the rest of December with very winnable games against San Francisco, Oakland, Delaware State, and Lewis, before the Big East opener against Connecticut on January 3rd.

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