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Just offensive: Badgers struggle to find points, fall to Nittany Lions, 36-33

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS – The first was half was so ugly that the second half was likely bound to be as well, simply by association.That was the case for the third-seeded Wisconsin Badgers (23-8) Friday night, as their struggles away from Madison continued in a 36-33 loss to the sixth-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions (18-13) in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.As the score indicates, the game was nearly devoid of consistent offense. Wisconsin (7-8 away from the Kohl Center) was unable to score – missing its first eight shots – until point guard Jordan Taylor converted a layup at the 12:32 mark in the first half. By that point, Penn State had already scored 14 points. After the Nittany Lions scored on two of their next three possessions, they held what would be their biggest lead of the game, 16 points, at the 9:59 mark.“We just didn’t have that energy that you need to start the game,” UW forward Jon Leuer said. “We just came out and were stagnant offensively. We weren’t moving and cutting hard. Defensively, we just gave too many good looks, gave up some offensive rebounds – just all the things you don’t want to do.”The Badgers were able to trim the deficit with a 14-2 run and entered halftime trailing, 20-16. UW was just 7-for-25 (.280) from the field in the first half and 1-for-11 (.091) from 3-point range. PSU, meanwhile, wasn’t much better. The Nittany Lions were 8-for-23 (.348) from the floor and 2-for-7 (.286) from behind the arc.Out of the break, the struggle for points continued. Wisconsin tied the game at 22 after forward Mike Bruesewitz converted a layup at the 14:22 mark. However, the Badgers were never able to pull ahead.At the 9:54 mark, Bruesewitz was defending on the perimeter when he slipped and his right knee buckled awkwardly. The 6-foot-6 forward stayed down on the floor for several minutes before being helped off by trainers. He returned to the bench later in the half, but UW head coach Bo Ryan was unable to provide an update after the game.“We’re battling some adversity right now,” Leuer said.The Badgers scored just seven points after the injury, and finished the game 15-for-51 (.294) from the field and 2-for-21 (.095) from 3-point range. They also reached the free throw line just three times, making only one.Wisconsin stayed within four points of Penn State, and with 3:57 remaining, Taylor nailed a jumper to bring UW within two, 32-30. After trading possessions, PSU’s Talor Battle sunk a crucial 3-pointer at the 2:29 mark. Battle, Penn State’s leading scorer with 20.2 points per game, led the team with nine points in the game. Taylor led Wisconsin with 16 points on 7-for-21 shooting, including 1-for-7 from 3-point territory.The two teams again traded possessions until UW forward Keaton Nankivil converted a three-pointer with 1:05 remaining. The points were Nankivil’s only of the game, as he went 1-for-4 from the field and 1-for-3 from behind the arc.After Battle missed a layup on the next possession, Taylor had a three-pointer that rimmed out with the Badgers down just 35-33. UW guard Josh Gasser intentionally fouled Battle, and after sinking the first, Battle missed the second.Gasser rebounded and pushed the ball up to Taylor, who attempted a difficult, lean-in 3-pointer that hit the front iron. Penn State rebounded, and the game was over.“I guess that I expected a little something different from them,” Taylor said of PSU’s defense on his final shot. “Either way, same thing. Just some bad decisions, and unfortunately, that’s not going to win games for you.”last_img read more

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