Not Enough Support

Jon Leuer scored 18 points Saturday but didn't receive much help from his teammates as the Badgers fell 56-52 at Penn State.

MADISON —First impressions of No. 17 Wisconsin's 56-52 loss to Penn State Saturday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center…

- Five player scored for Wisconsin Saturday.


Jon Leuer did his job, scoring 18 points on 50 percent shooting. Jordan Taylor played solid as well, adding 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field.

And that was about it for Wisconsin on offense.

The glaring lack of help for the stars reached a climax with four minutes left in the game and the Badgers trailing by four. On three consecutive possessions, Tim Jarmusz, Josh Gasser and Keaton Nankivil all attempted open three pointers and all three of them missed.

Taylor and Leuer came into the game as the highest scoring duo in the Big Ten, but the Badgers had become the No. 2 most efficient offense in the country — as measured by points per possession by statistics guru Ken Pomeroy — with role players like Nankivil, Bruesewitz and Gasser scoring when the opportunity presented itself.

(Nankivil did finish with 11 points Saturday, but six of them came with less than 30 seconds left in the game when UW was all but finished)

They were missing in action Saturday, along with a chance at a valuable conference road win.

- Seth Davis, the leading college basketball expert for Sports Illustrated, harps on one simple formula to increase a teams chances for winning on the road in conference play:

Go to the free throw line.

The Badgers failed miserably at that task Saturday, shooting just three free throws the entire day. To go along with that, UW shot 20 three-pointers against 32 2-point field goals

Taylor in particular, who averages seven free throw attempts per game, only reached the line once.

Seeing as the Badgers convert at the charity stripe at an 81 percent rate, they may want to attack the hoop a bit more.

- After obliterating the feeble 1-3-1 zone Northwestern sat in last Sunday, UW fell apart when Penn State zoned them up midway through the first half.

With PSU starting the game in a man-defense, the Badgers took advantage of several back-door cuts to open up a quick 11 point lead. With Penn State switching between a 3-2 zone and a 1-3-1, the Badgers offense fell pray to relying on outside shots instead of attacking the lane.

Making matters worse, UW grabbed just seven offensive rebounds off 30 missed shots, despite the inherent rebounding weakness of a zone 'D'.

- Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to an opponent.

Talor Battle hit two three-pointers with the shot clock winding down and a man in his face. The home crowd went nuts each time Battle splashed another jumper, throwing all the momentum towards Penn State.

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