"You know, we were getting some decent looks, and they just weren't falling," junior Jon Leuer said. "But we had to work a little bit harder to finish inside. Obviously we missed some bunnies, but for the most part we were getting good shots, it was just a matter of us finishing."
Down 46-30 with 6:45 left, desperation set in for the Badgers and their offense erupted. In the final seven minutes of the game, Wisconsin scored 24 points to draw as close as 56-54.
"I thought it was Michigan State all over again from two years ago," UW Coach Bo Ryan said, referring to UW's epic second-half comeback in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals. "I really thought that once we got it down there that we could close that."
Senior Trevon Hughes ignited the comeback after one of the worst starts to a game in his career. Hughes started the game 0-of-11 from the field, including 0-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc. In the final two minutes, Hughes was 4-of-5 from the field including 4-of-4 from the three-point line.
"Trevon has hit shots to win games when the game was on the line," Ryan said. "So he's been through some streaks as a shooter where he really has a tough time getting his shooting rhythm going. And you have to then maybe get to the free-throw line, drive, finish. He's capable of making plays, and those threes that he hit, without a doubt, that triggered."
The run ended when Hughes fouled out with just 24 seconds remaining in the game and Wisconsin's other senior – Jason Bohannon - turned it over down three with 12 seconds left.
"As poorly as our seniors shot the ball, they were still the ones that were igniting some good things that were happening," Ryan said. "So their leadership was still being exhibited with our full court pressure, with our trying to get them to make some tough decisions, and we did."
Bummer for Bohannon
Jason Bohannon surprisingly struggled against Illinois for a second consecutive game.
Entering the game against Illinois, Bohannon was 24-of-49 (48.9 percent) from the field against the Illini. He was also a staggering 15-of-28 (53.5 percent) from the three-point line.
"I mean we got good looks, it was one of those days," Bohannon said. "We have to keep shooting with confidence and they are going to fall down the road."
Bohannon could not get it going against Illinois. He was just 1-of-10 (10 percent) from the field and 1-of-6 (16.7 percent) from beyond the three-point line. In the past two games against Illinois, Bohannon has struggled to just 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from the field and 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from three-point range. Despite the loss, Bohannon looks forward to the NCAA tournament and a chance to get his shooting problems turned around.
"Any time you have a loss like this you want to be able to bounce back if you can," Bohannon said. "We have an opportunity to do that, and we are going to come out ready and prepared."
Same ‘Ol Script
McCamey has had some decent success against the Badgers throughout his career, including the junior guard's 27-point outburst in the Illinois' upset win in Madison this past February. Tisdale added 19 points to help the Illini stun the Badgers 63-56 for just the eleventh loss in the Big Ten at home under Bo Ryan.
Today it was the same story in a different arena for the Illini against the Badgers. McCamey had 13 points on 6-of-15 from the field, including 1-of-3 from the three-point line. This time it was Tisdale that led the Illini.
"Well, you give a player credit if he gets things done," Ryan said. "We still tried to do some things to disrupt him. We still tried to get him to turn the ball over. I don't know how many he had, but it wasn't enough. Yeah, he had eight assists. He gave the ball up. He didn't force a lot of shots. So I thought he was well within his game. He played within himself."
Tisdale finished with 21 points on 8-of-11 from the field. He also was 2-of-2 from the three-point line. Entering the game, Tisdale was just 1-of-2 on the season from three-point range.
"We gave him too easy of looks and let him get comfortable," Leuer said. "He just got on a roll, and he's a good player. He's worked out his game to become a good player, and he knocked out some shots. Sometimes you've just got to tip your hat when a guy can do that."
In three games this season against the Badgers, Tisdale has averaged 18.6 points and five rebounds per game, while McCamey averaged 17 points and six assists per game.