It was another Saturday afternoon game, and another big loss at the Kohl Center for the Badgers, this one at the hands of in-state rival Marquette, 82-63. As bad as the final score reflects, parts of the game were very competitive thanks to the continued efforts of Brad Davison and Ethan Happ who combined for 37 points, and there are still a few positives to take from the performance.
Loss of Trice and King
In Wisconsin’s loss on Saturday, the Badgers played without starting point guard D’Mitrik Trice, and a key reserve, freshman wing Kobe King, who is one of the most skilled and complete players on this young team. Due to these players missing, other guards and forwards like Khalil Iverson, Aleem Ford, Brevin Pritzl, and even walk-on TJ Schlundt needed to step up.
They all did some good in their action, highlighted by a beautiful dunk play from Iverson and a corner three by Schlundt, but overall, did not do enough and were also not very efficient with their time on the court. Collectively, the four players combined for 9/23 from the field for 21 points.
The lack of offensive production without Trice and King is there, and Coach Greg Gard believes the team took an even bigger hit on the defensive end without the two guards. “I think Trice and King being absent hurt us more on the defensive end because they’ve had so many reps,” Gard explained. “Especially when you have to play small against Marquette, I knew we’d have to play smaller because of all the perimeter action, all the transitions.”
Lack of execution
In addition to the lack of offense from the team overall, Wisconsin also did a very poor job executing on their perimeter defense, especially early, and did not capitalize off turnovers as well as the Golden Eagles did.
Marquette is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, and they played like it Saturday, while the Badgers didn’t look quite ready to defend it. MU shot a scorching 64% from downtown, with two of their players both shooting 80% from beyond the arc in Andrew Rowsey and Sam Hauser.
Wisconsin had 12 turnovers to Marquette’s nine, which isn’t a huge difference, but the points off turnovers was one of the biggest stories of the game, along with the three-point shooting. The Golden Eagles had an incredible 28 points off UW’s 12 turnovers, while the Badgers were only able to produce just eight points off the nine turnovers from Marquette.
Three-point shooting and points off turnovers told the story, and although young players like Brad Davison and Nate Reuvers are certainly maturing and contributing in big games (Davison especially), the team needs to win the rest of their non-conference games, and the next test is Wednesday, as the Badgers host Western Kentucky at the Kohl Center.