Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers fall under weight of orange crush

(CHAMPAIGN, Ill.) — After suffering a 20-point loss to
Wisconsin three weeks ago, the Fighting Illini had a score to
settle when the No. 10 Badgers came to their house. Illinois guard
Deron Williams said after being embarrassed by Wisconsin, his team
circled last night’s game on the calendar and vowed to be ready the
next time the two teams met.

And ready they were, as the Illini fought back from being down
by as much as six points in the first half to come away with an
important 65 to 57 Big Ten victory. The loss gives the Badgers and
the Illini identical records going into the final stretch of the
Big Ten season, as both teams are now 17-5 overall and 8-3 in Big
Ten play.

Despite being down by eight points with eight minutes and 31
seconds left, the Badgers went on a 7-0 run to pull the score to
50-49 with 5:32 remaining in the game.


The run, keyed by two baskets from Devin Harris and a huge
3-pointer from Zach Morley, was not quite enough as the Illini
mounted a run of their own.

Illinois’ James Augustine and Roger Powell hit two free throws
each with Williams adding two free throws and a basket of his own
to put the Illini back up by nine points with 3:17 left to play.
The Badgers were unable to mount another comeback.

“It was a physical game and those things happen sometimes. When
you are playing from behind, those last few, you have to do that,
you have to push [the ball],” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said.
“Things didn’t go our way. We had to score, and it got to the point
where we had to foul. They missed a few, and I thought we had a
chance … we had to come down and capitalize because we had the
timeouts to use. In my mind I saw a comeback; I guess in their
minds they didn’t.”

Within that same stretch, the Badgers turned the ball over four
times and failed to get anything going on the offensive end of the

“Usually that’s what we try to do to the other team,” said
Wisconsin forward Zach Morley. “We were careless with the ball, and
they capitalized on it.”

Those four turnovers were only the tip of the iceberg as the
Badgers committed a season-high 17 turnovers. The team’s previous
high in turnovers, 14, was against Maryland Dec. 2.

“Out turnovers weren’t from passing to the wrong jersey, they
were from getting stripped. I never saw so many hands,” Ryan said.
“I thought they changed the mascot to the octopi or octopus. There
were a lot of hands out there.”

In addition to forcing the Badgers to turn the ball over so
frequently, the Illini also proved successful in stopping the
red-hot play of Harris. In the two teams’ previous meeting Harris
poured in 30 points, scoring at will and therefore controlling the
pace of the game.

Although Harris did end with a team-high 16 points, Illinois
stopped him from taking over the game in the final minutes —
something he is getting accustomed to doing.

“They had good pressure and pushed us to a lot of spots we
didn’t want to go,” Harris said. “To get four turnovers in a row at
the end was disappointing. They weren’t smart plays.”

The Badgers also saw a quiet night from forward Mike Wilkinson,
who had 24 points in the last meeting in Madison in which he scored
14 of the team’s first 18 points. This time against the Fighting
Illini, Wilkinson scored seven points and shot the ball a mere five
times in 36 minutes of play. Coach Ryan attributes much of that to
the fact that Wilkinson and Powell, who also had 24 points in the
last meeting, neutralized each other by battling hard down low.
Powell was only able to tally seven points as well.

A bright spot for the Badgers, however, was the play of Morley,
who had one of his better shooting games of the year, after
struggling recently to find his shot. Against intense defensive
pressure, Morley got things going early for the Badgers as he
scored six points, including a rim-rattling dunk, in a matter of
three minutes to give his team a 12-8 lead. Shortly thereafter,
Morley got himself into foul trouble and sat most of the remainder
of the first half. In the second half, Morley came back out firing
as his timely shooting toward the end of the game helped put his
team within striking distance.

“It’s been awhile (referring to his good shooting game), but I
can’t be too happy because we still lost the game in the end,”
Morley said.

Reserve center Dave Mader also shinned in the first half, coming
off the bench to give the Badgers an added presence in the post,
scoring six points in nine minutes of play.

“They (Mader and Morley) worked hard in the first half,” Ryan
said. “They played possession for possession in the first

Click here to view photos from the game

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