Sconnie Sports Talk

Wisconsin’s streak comes to a startling halt in East Lansing, 69-57


The Badgers’ streak ended in an embarrassing shooting performance on Thursday night, as Wisconsin fell 69-57 to #8 Michigan State. Wisconsin shot 20-59 (34%) from the field, including 6-20 (30%) from three-point.

The first half was ugly, to say the least. Michigan State started off the game on a 14-3 run, in which the Badgers also had a 6:19 scoring drought. Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine led the Spartans on offense, while nothing would fall for Wisconsin. Valentine had 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 7 assists in the half, accounting for the majority of his team’s points. Michigan State played fantastic defense, resulting in the Badgers shooting 25% from the field, including 22% from three. Wisconsin went on a 7-0 run at the end of the half, but still could not wait to get to halftime, trailing 32-23.

It was more of the same in the second half, as the Badgers could not score from anymore, especially inside the paint, missing countless layups. Michigan State went up as many as 19 points, as the Spartans were too much for the Badgers. The Badgers played fine defensively, but they struggled to switch on screens, resulting in open shots for the Spartans. In the end, Michigan State was hitting open shots, and Wisconsin was missing contested ones.

Denzel Valentine was the star in this one, lighting up the Badgers for 24 points on 9-19 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists. Not only was he scoring with ease and hitting open looks, he was distributing to his teammates. Valentine is making a real case to stomp Buddy Hield for National Player of the Year.

Valentine won the matchup against Nigel Hayes, who had one of the worst games in his college career. Hayes scored a season-low 5 points, going 1-13 from the floor, and much of that was a result of Valentine’s defense. Deyonta Davis also played exceptional defense on Hayes.

Ethan Happ was one of the lone bright spots for the Badgers, who absolutely played his tail off. A lot of bounces did not go his way, but the redshirt freshman played much better tonight than he did the last two games.

This was the Badgers’ ninth straight loss at the Breslin Center, dating back to 2004. This game will likely not take Wisconsin out of the tournament picture, considering they were not expected to win.

Wisconsin (16-10, 8-5) will host Illinois (12-14, 4-9) on Sunday night at 6:30 PM CT.