Offensively Inept

Wisconsin missed 19 threes and 36 field goals overall as the Badgers stumbled to a 36-33 loss to Penn State Friday at the Big Ten Tournament. It was the lowest scoring performance ever under Bo Ryan for UW.

INDIANAPOLIS — After winning 19 straight games following a loss, the Wisconsin basketball team followed up their worst defeat of the season at Ohio State last Sunday with an even uglier one at the hands of Penn State Friday night.

Twitter was ablaze with worthy one-liners of the pre-shot clock score as the Badgers fell 36-33 to the Nittany Lions, marking UW's third straight one-and-done exit from the Big Ten tournament, but it was Nittany Lion Talor Battle who delivered the best one of the night, albeit accidentally.

"It was an ugly, physical, Big Ten game," Talor Battle said in the understatement of the season.

You said it Talor.

The stats look like a misprint. Wisconsin missed 36 of 51 shots, including 19 of 21 threes. They shot three free throws on the day.

As unbelievably good as the Buckeyes were Sunday, the Badgers were that unbelievably bad Friday.

Wisconsin scored two points in the first 10 minutes of the game. They finished the contest averaging 0.78 points per possession, an entire 0.4 lower than their season average.

It was the least points Wisconsin has ever scored under Bo Ryan, and the fewest for UW since they lost to Southwest Missouri State in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.

"To be honest with you, I walked off the court about as frustrated as I ever have been today," UW senior forward Keaton Nankivil said, finishing he game with three points on 1-of-4 shooting.

For a team that seemed hangover proof, UW was lit up for an 18-2 run to start the contest and never could recover despite Penn State scoring just 18 points over the final 30 minutes of the game.

Ryan grew so frustrated with his team that after four minutes of play he had subbed out the entire starting five and replaced them with two walk-ons, seldom used Jared Berggren along with Ryan Evans and Mike Bruesewitz.

While Ryan likely was trying to make a motivational point to his starters rather than a strategic play, the lineup still gave up a bucket, committed a foul and turned the ball over in the span of two minutes the odd Badger combination saw the floor together.

"We just didn't have that energy we needed at the start of the game," UW senior forward Jon Leuer said. "We just came out stagnantly offensively, we weren't moving or cutting hard. Defensively we gave them to many good looks and gave up offensive rebounds, all the things you don't want to do.

"We have to move on and not let it happen again."

Wisconsin held All-Big ten guard Battle to nine points on 18 shots and still couldn't figure out a way overcome the Lions with a toothless offense.

Battle eventually did enough to stave off the Badgers feeble comeback attempt, hitting a three with a little over two minutes to play putting PSU up five — a sizeable lead in this dead-ball era game.

"Coach kept calling plays for me so I had to eventually hit one," said Battle, who finished shooting 2-of-9 threes for the night.

Still, the Badgers were gifted two more good chances to lead or tie the game up in the final 60 seconds. Trailing by two, Taylor was sprung free for an open three at the top of the arc, but left it inches short (the theme to tonight's game).

After Battle — a 76 percent free throw shooter — made just one of two free throws, Wisconsin had another chance with Taylor charging up the court.

The UW point guard's attempt came up well short, however, and making matters worse for Badger fans, Taylor appeared to have both Nankivil and Leuer open for threes with Taylor double/triple teamed.

"Just a bad decision," he said. "I made bad decisions all night."

With Wisconsin nose diving at exactly the wrong time — playing their two worst games of the season the two games before the Tournament — plenty of questions were asked about the mindset/confidence/readiness of UW for the Tourney.

No one had any real answers, though Nankivil was the most succinct.

"We're only guaranteed one more game, so hopefully we can find a way to rededicate ourselves to this part of the postseason," he said.


Badger Nation Top Stories