Game Day Grades: Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, PA. - It was ugly and average, but No.22 Wisconsin got the job done thanks to Traevon Jackson's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, clinching a top four finish in the Big Ten for the 13th straight year. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: C

Struggling to shoot the basketball against Michigan State, Wisconsin shot the basketball much better against Penn State by finishing the game 22-for-51 (43.1 percent) from the floor. The offense wasn't always pretty, but the Badgers were able to find success on the low block by scoring 17 points in the paint. Wisconsin had an interior size advantage but didn't always use it to their advantage until late in the game.

Jared Berggren finished the game with 12 points - all coming in the paint on 6-for-8 shooting. Berggren was able to help get the Badgers offense going early in the game. Traevon Jackson led all scorers with a career-high 15 points, Ben Brust had 13 points (10 coming in the first half) and Sam Dekker had 14 points off the bench by going 7-for-8 from the free throw line.

Wisconsin turned the basketball over eight times. When the Badgers did turn the ball over it was due to the Nittany Lions pressuring Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions were able to cut off passing lanes and were able to trap the Badgers in corners.

Wisconsin was only able to grab five offensive rebounds in the game, as Penn State did do a good job of boxing out and limiting hands on loose ball. Wisconsin only was able to get two points off of its second chance opportunities.

Wisconsin hit 12 of 15 free throws (80 percent), impressive considering the Badgers came in at 60.6 percent in league play.

Defense: C

Wisconsin made it easy for the Nittany Lions on offense at times, especially with Penn State able to drive the lane with not much interference and score 30 points in the paint. The Badgers defense struggled to stop the basketball, which allowed Penn State to get off easy shots.

Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill both had success getting into the lane against the Badgers. Marshall had 23 points and Newbill had 22, as both guards were too quick and able to get to the hoop.

When Penn State wasn't able to get into the lane, the Badgers did a good job of contesting Penn State's shot. Wisconsin only had three blocks in the game, including two more by Berggren.

Penn State got off to a slow start in the game but was able to find a rhythm offensively to finish 23-for-53 (43.4 percent) from the floor. Wisconsin only forced Penn State into six turnovers in the game, unable to bait Penn State into any bad mistakes. But again with the Nittany Lions getting into the lane, Wisconsin couldn't poke the basketball away. Wisconsin was able to get six points off of Penn State's turnovers.

Ryan Evans had trouble staying out of foul trouble, being limited to 19 minutes with his four fouls. The Badgers committed 15 team fouls sending Penn State to the free throw line 14 times. Penn State went 11-for-14 (78.6 percent) from the charity stripe.

Overall C

The Badgers came out on fire with an early 8-0 lead, but the Nittany Lions made adjustments and made life difficult for the Badgers offense. Wisconsin went on a six minute scoring drought in the first half, which allowed Penn State to get back into the game and take a lead. But Wisconsin was able to overcome its scoring drought and make enough plays down the stretch to get a victory.

Wisconsin struggled from 3-point range but was able to knock down the critical ones down the stretch. Jackson's 3-pointer at the buzzer from roughly 25 feet clearly was the play of the game. Jackson was able to catch the ball in stride and get a good shot off even with a hand in his face. Penn State played good defense but the most important thing was it failed to stop the basketball.

Berggren recorded his third double-double on the year with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Berggren had a rough second half where he appeared to have rolled both of his ankles, but was able to finish the game out. His health will be something to keep an eye on this coming week.

Dekker struggled shooting the basketball - going 3-10 in the game - but made his impact by driving to the hoop and getting to the free throw line.

Game MVP: Traevon Jackson. Not only did he hit the game winner, Jackson led UW with a career-high 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting. It took Jackson a while to get going offensively but he was able to get going with his mid-range game. Jackson has struggled from 3-point range this year - going 17-for-64 on the season - went 3-3 in the game.

Jackson did a good job of taking care of the basketball (only one turnover) and dish out four assists. Jackson has never lacked confidence this year, evident by his desire to always want the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. With it now being March, Jackson will have to continue to play with the confidence he's exuded all season.

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