A Bad Half Dozen

Despite four Badgers in double figures, including 15 points from Trevon Hughes, Wisconsin had no answer for Northwestern senior Craig Moore, who torched the Badgers for 26 points, the only Wildcat in double figures, to send UW to its sixth straight loss.

Evanston, Ill. — The Wisconsin men's basketball team has gotten in some sort of funk and just can't seem to figure a way out.

The Badgers lost their sixth-consecutive game Saturday, failing to hold on to a late lead and dropping a close contest.

"This is life," point guard Trevon Hughes said. "We gotta get it together. We're running out of time."

Craig Moore scored 26 points, including six key free throws in the final 15 seconds of the game, as Northwestern handed Wisconsin a 66-63 loss. Hughes led four UW scorers in double figures with 15.

The Badgers loss followed in a pattern that has become all too familiar for those who follow the team. Opposing players make the plays they need to to win, the Badgers don't.

It's that simple.

Wisconsin played solid offensively, but Northwestern had its way with the Wisconsin defense, scoring 66 points on just 52 possessions. For the second-straight game, UW allowed an opponent to shoot better than 60 percent from the field in a half. Northwestern made 10 of 15 shots it attempted in the first half.

Playing that poor of a defense leaves little room for error, but the Badgers committed 13 turnovers, including a costly pass with two-and-a-half minutes left from Tim Jarmusz to Northwestern's Kevin Coble, who was wide open under the UW basket.

"We could have settled in a little bit better early, just in too much of a hurry," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. "But then after that, just five (turnovers) in the second half. … Eight in the first half, that's three or four too many. So that's three or four shots we don't get."

Wisconsin had to deal with foul trouble for nearly the entire game, too. Sophomore forward Keaton Nankivil picked up his fourth foul less than two minutes into the second half and didn't play again.

"He's our five man, you gotta have that defensive presence inside," Ryan said of Nankivil.

By the end of the game, every one of Wisconsin's starters had four fouls.

But while whistles were in no short supply for most of the night, when the Badgers needed on the most there was silence.

Actually, the officials were just about the only ones who remained quiet. The rest of Welsh-Ryan Arena was either celebrating or dismayed over another UW loss.

As Trevon Hughes tried to push the ball up the court for one last desperation look, a pair of Northwestern defenders squeezed in on him, seemingly ready to foul Hughes and give UW no chance at a three-pointer to tie the game.

Hughes, expecting the foul, tried to get into the act of shooting to try and earn three free throws. But Craig Moore knocked the ball free, leaving Hughes looking for a call that never came.

"I was anticipating the foul, and he smacked me across my arm," Hughes said. "I'm not going to fake that. We needed to get a shot up. That's the way it went.

"Referees know enough to call a foul in the last couple seconds of the game."

Things don't get any easier. Next up for the Badgers is Illinois, the team that dealt UW its fourth loss in this streak. The 20th-ranked Illini go into Sunday's game against Iowa at 5-3 in conference play and tied for fourth.


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