Game Day Grades: Northwestern

MADISON - Chalk this one up in the humbling category for No.14 Wisconsin, who turned in a horrid shooting performance and a substandard defensive performance in a 9-point loss to Northwestern, the first ever at the Kohl Center. BadgerNation hands out the grades.

Offense: F

After being such an efficient on offense, shooting over 50 percent in Wisconsin's three of the last five games, the Badgers shot a terrible 26.3 percent on 15-for-57 shooting. Northwestern did a good job of taking away the paint and forcing Wisconsin to shoot from the perimeter. Wisconsin has been a solid shooting team from 3-point range this year and had open looks, but couldn't buy a three in a dreadful 5-for-24 (20.8 percent) performance.

What hurt Wisconsin was scoring droughts. The Badgers suffered three field goal droughts lasting over six minutes. Wisconsin's longest scoring drought came in the second half when they went 12 minutes, 15 seconds without a field goal and during that stretch Wisconsin missed 14 straight, which allowed Northwestern to take over.

Ben Brust was the Badgers leading score with 21 points but shot poorly (7-for-18). Sam Dekker was the only other Badger to reach double figures with 11 points but seven of his 11 points came from the free throw line.

With so many misses, the Badgers should have done a better job of boxing out and attacking the offensive glass to try and get some second-chance opportunities, but only managed to grab nine offensive rebounds in the game.

Wisconsin's offense was getting to the free throw line and was able to find ways to attack the basket, even if they struggled to score down low. UW managed to get to the free throw line 27 times, knocking down 21 of the free throws.

Defense: D

The Badgers had no answer for Drew Crawford and his 30 points, as Wisconsin struggled to get a hand in his face and allowed him to settle for open shots throughout the game.

Northwestern was able to find success down low in the paint but with the way the second half played out, the Wildcats didn't necessarily have to utilize the low post touches as much in the first half, where they scored 18 of their 24 points.

With Wisconsin having to try and make up the deficit so quickly, the Badgers' pressures were able to force the Wildcats into some late turnovers to provide a glimmer of hope. Overall Northwestern had 14 turnovers.

Overall: F

This was a completely different Northwestern team the Badgers faced since the Big Ten opener. The Badgers came out disinterested and flat and the Wildcats took advantage of that tonight.

Wisconsin was able to get Alex Olah into foul trouble but was never able to take advantage of it by scoring points in the paint. The Badgers were able to get to the free throw line but they could have been in a lot of and-one situations, finishing with only 14 points in the paint.

Nigel Hayes could of had a handful of situations where he could have gone to the free throw line trying to convert a three-point play. As he gets stronger he should be able to convert more of those opportunities. Even if he can't finish around the rim after contact, he needs to be able to knock down his free throws, where he went 4-of-9. Hayes was passive in the first half but came out strong and tried to attack around the rim in the second half, finishing with UW's only six points off the bench.

Traevon Jackson struggled tonight and it's curious as to why Bronson Koenig didn't see any time in the second half. Jackson had three turnovers but couldn't get the Badgers offense into any rhythm tonight.

Game MVP: Ben Brust. The senior led the team in scoring with 21 points and he tried to be aggressive throughout the game on offense and defense where he had five steals.


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