With Syracuse playing the 2-3 zone on defense, the Badgers knew they weren't going to get any easy points down low. So the key for the Badgers was to be able to knock down their three's. The Badgers - who lived and died by the three at times this season - was able to go 14-for-27 (51.9 percent) from distance. Jared Berggren, Jordan Taylor and Ben Brust in particular were feeling it from the perimeter and the three of them combined to go 11-for-18. The rest of the team went 3-for-9.
Brust helped the Badgers keep themselves in the game by scoring six of his nine points off the bench in the second half. He went 3-for-6 from three.
The Badgers only had two players in double figures - both Taylor and Berggren each had 17 points. The Badgers shot the basketball well going 21-49 (42.9 percent) from the floor.
Ryan Evans had been a scoring machine, but only had seven points and shot 3-for-11 from the floor, the worst shooting percentage among UW's starters. This is the first time Evans has failed to score in double figures since January 22 against Illinois.
Wisconsin did take care of the basketball well against the Syracuse defense by only turning the ball over six times. The Orange led the nation in steals, but managed only four of them against UW and only seven points off turnovers.
Wisconsin allowed the Orange to get in to the paint way too much in the game. What hurt the Badgers' defense was when Berggren and Mike Bruesewitz picked up two fouls in the first half and had to go to the bench and sit the rest of the half. Frank Kaminsky was inserted into the lineup and struggled to fill the void.
With Syracuse getting into the paint on a consistent basis, it led to the Orange shooting a high percentage from the floor. Syracuse went 27-for-49 (55.1 percent) in the game, 14-for-22 (63.6 percent) in the first half and score 30 points in the paint.
Like the Badgers offense, the Orange did a good job of taking care of the basketball by only coughing it up six times. The Badgers were only able to generate five points off of the Orange miscues.
Despite Berggren and Bruesewitz picking up two early fouls in the first half the Badgers played disciplined defensive basketball and only committed 12 team fouls. Syracuse went to the line nine times knocking down five of its free throws.
The Badgers did a good job of limiting the Orange second-chance opportunity by grabbing 17 defensive rebounds and only allowed the Orange to get seven offensive rebounds.
Wisconsin played well enough to win tonight but unfortunately for them, Syracuse was just a little bit better. It's hard to win many basketball games when your opposition shoots 55.1 percent from the floor.
Despite Syracuse shooting the ball well Wisconsin had there own hot streak in the game by knocking down six straight three's. Berggren got the Badgers going by knocking down the first of six three's to cut the Orange lead to four points. Brust followed suit by knocking down the second three, Taylor also got in to the action along with Josh Gasser.
The Badgers had the last possession and a chance to win the ball game but couldn't get a good shot off. Syracuse played good defense against the Badgers offense but what I don't understand is why Taylor or Bo Ryan didn't call a timeout considering they still had one left. Clearly the Badgers were having trouble finding a good shot. There also was plenty of time left where they could have a called a timeout and draw up a play out of the timeout, but I guess Ryan trusted Taylor that he could make a play at the end of the game.
The Badgers didn't get to the free throw line that often but if they were able to knock down a couple more of their free throws, Wisconsin wins this game. The team went 7-for-12 from the charity stripe. Gasser was fouled late in the first half while attempting a 3-point shot but was only able to knock down two of his three shots. Gasser is a good free throw shooter shooting 78 percent on the year so it's not likely that he misses many. The missed free throws weren't a deciding a factor in the game because the Badgers could have won the game in different areas, but it's frustrating to leave points on the court like that.
Rob Wilson played well despite scoring only four points off of the bench because he didn't try and force many shots. Wilson was able to tie the ball game up at 40 early in the second half and he was aggressive after the basketball. He was able to grab four rebounds in the game - three being offensive rebounds. Wilson had an up-and-down career, but he definitely finished his Badgers career strong and on a high note.
Game MVP: Jared Berggren and Jordan Taylor. Both Berggren and Taylor led the Badgers in scoring with 17 points a piece. They clearly helped keep the Badgers in the game with a talented Syracuse team.
Berggren's presence was clearly missed in the first half when he picked up two early personal fouls. With him being out of the game in the first half, it opened up the paint for the Orange to get down low and get some easy buckets.
Berggren also was able to score 10 of his 17 points in the game in the first half. With Berggren feeling it early and him picking up his two fouls, it hurt Wisconsin's offense in the first half a little. Sitting the final 12:03, UW managed just 12 points down the stretch and was at .95 points per possession in the first half.
Taylor ended his career with a typical Jordan Taylor performance. Not only did Taylor play the entire game, scored 17 points on 6-for-15 shooting from the floor and 5-9 from three and was efficient with the basketball - dishing out six assists to only one turnover.
It took Taylor a while to get going in the game. He didn't score until the 5:35 mark in the first half but once he made his first shot, the Orange had trouble-stopping Taylor.
Taylor had an excellent career and he did a lot for the Badger basketball program. Taylor represented Wisconsin very well on and off the basketball court. It would have been nice to see Taylor and Wilson in a Badger uniform one more time but unfortunately, their successful careers had to end tonight against Syracuse.