Badgers Score A Monday Night Bounce Back
Big Ten schedule is wacky this season. You’ve read me clown a bit because it’s so thirsty for the conference to play their tournament a week earlier to just sniff Madison Square Garden. This means different things like Monday games for teams. Big Ten is usually a Tuesday through Thursday conference with weekend games. This year, it’s different meaning Wisconsin had to pick themselves up after a Saturday blowout to face an emerging Penn State team on the road. This was a difficult game on paper for Wisconsin given all of their struggles, and they shut down the Nittany Lions with a great defensive effort winning 64-63 in a game that wasn’t really that close.
The bench finally comes alive
Greg Gard’s biggest issue this season is the lack of bench with his team. He did not play Charlie Thomas or Alex Ilikanen, rather, he went with a three-deep bench featuring two freshman and a redshirt sophomore. It paid off for Gard. Kobe King had his best night as a Badger scoring eight points and playing stellar on-ball defense for Wisconsin. Nate Reuvers continues to look more comfortable with college basketball as he added 11 points in 13 minutes. Brevin Pritzl also connected for six points. This is the most production Wisconsin has seen from its bench all year. One would guess this is their second unit moving forward.
Tony Carr gets shut down
Penn State’s fast start is due in large part to a big three featuring Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins. While Watkins went off for 22 points, Carr and Stevens were silent. They combined for only 20 points which is 15 below what the two are combining to average this season. Carr only got going very late in the game as Penn State led a furious comeback to finish this one. Badgers deserve a ton of credit for their perimeter defense in this one.
Wisconsin needs to learn to finish
Badgers were so close to stepping on the throat of Penn State, and they couldn’t do it. They had a 14 point lead with five minutes to go in this game. It looked virtually over for the Nittany Lions, but they had one more run in them aided by Carr reviving himself. Wisconsin had some issues scoring suddenly in the final moments which led to the comeback. They were clearly the better team, but Penn State could have easily escaped with a win.
Wisconsin stays out east for a non-conference matchup with Temple on Wednesday night in Philadelphia. Owls are off to a 4-2 start scoring wins over Clemson and South Carolina earlier this year, but they are coming off a loss from former A-10 foe George Washington over the weekend. It’s another good test for Wisconsin as they try to get back to .500.