Just days after a thrilling upset of No. 6 Michigan State, Northwestern was no match for Wisconsin, who caught fire in the second half. Senior forward John Shurna does not see Wednesday's game as a loss of momentum, but rather, just another game.
"It's a completely different game," Shurna said to the media. "We can just try to go onto the next game and be mentally prepared."
The Wildcats were at a disadvantage against Wisconsin, as they traveled to Madison with a few vacant seats on the team charter bus. Alex Marcotullio (concussion) did not travel with the team; neither did freshman forward Mike Turner, who was an option to play if needed. Freshman guard Jershon Cobb (hip) was sidelined with an injury.
NU suited up nine players, including two walk-ons, who were forced into action. Carmody did not make excuses for his team when addressing the media.
"I always play seven guys anyway," Carmody said to the media after the loss. "People always bitch to me about that. I'm used to playing only seven, I just wish sometimes it was a different seven. We're going to have to."
Northwestern came out with a strong showing in the first half. After falling behind early, NU rallied behind a 14-2 run, and opened up a five-point lead. John Shurna, Drew Crawford, and Dave Sobolewski led the charge in the first half, combining for 30 of the team's 32 points.
Wisconsin held a two-point lead at halftime, but began to surge in the second half. The Badgers were sparked by a 21-6 run in the opening seven minutes. Northwestern shifted to a one-three-one zone defense, which faltered against a hot-shooting Wisconsin team.
"We were just trying to change it around," said Carmody. "They found we were late getting out there, and there wasn't pressure on the ball like there needed to be. They handled both our man and our one-three-one very well."
The Badgers finished with four scorers in double-figures, led by 17 points from Ryan Evans. Wisconsin posted 12 three-pointers in the win. Senior point guard Jordan Taylor helped trigger his team with a few clutch three-pointers in the opening minutes of the half. The Badgers were just too much to handle.
"I think we were confident," Carmody said, "But they came out shooting the ball really well. The looks were too open, and that's discouraging, because we worked on that."
The Wildcats now look ahead to their next game, on Sunday—another tough challenge on the road—as they face the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who have reeled off two straight wins.
NU can only hope to be in better health for the trip to Minneapolis, while it looks to rebound from a tough loss.
"We'll see the character of our team for the next game," said Shurna. "We've just got to keep fighting."