The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (4-6, 1-1 Big Ten) fell 55-59 to Temple (7-2, 0-0 AAC) last night in Philadelphia.
The Badgers dropped another close contest after nearly giving up a large lead in their previous game to Penn State. Aleem Ford’s layup at the 3:27 minute mark to give Wisconsin a three point lead made the game look winnable, however the team was unable to score a single point with the remaining time in what became a four point loss.
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The dagger came when the Badgers were down by two. Off an open three by Kobe King, Quinton Rose recorded a clutch rebound over Aleem Ford to clinch the victory for the Owls. While Rose is the team’s leading scorer, he otherwise had a relatively quiet day, scoring just nine points with three boards in the contest.
Fellow guard Shizz Alston Jr. was able to step up in Rose’s place, hitting 7-15 for 22 points and a 4-1 assist to turnover ratio. However, what was most impressive about Alston’s performance was his 6-6 free throw shooting with the final four coming in the last few minutes.
During a post-game interview, the Washington post quoted Wisconsin head coach Greg Garg explained that fouling Rose was a mistake that the team did not want to make.
“He was not the guy we wanted to foul,” Gard said, “They did a good job of getting the ball to him, and good players find a way to go get it.”
The foul shots Also gave Alston the Temple school record of 50 straight free throws. During the same interview with Gard, the junior guard noted, “The record wouldn’t have meant much if we lost. I’m glad we got the win.”
The elation for the Owls was met with equal disappointment with a Badger team that has continually been unable to finish late in games this season. Even in their last victory against Penn State the team was one made three away from blowing a 17 point victory with just 10 minutes remaining in the second half.
Despite missing a late layup that could have kept the Badgers competitive, Ethan Happ had to carry the load once again. The forward had a solid 11-19 performance with 22 points and six rebounds. Unfortunately, similar to other contests the teammates around Happ were unable to match his production.
The scars of losing long contributing seniors like Hayes, Showalter, Koenig, and Brown are more apparent now than ever. If the Badgers want to remain in the NCAA tournament hunt, they will need to shed their inexperience soon and start performing better in key games.