The No. 21 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (14-6, 8-5 Big Ten) lost a crucial Big Ten match against No. 6 Illinois (13-5, 9-3) Saturday afternoon. The final score was 75–60.
Wisconsin’s only lead came on a jumper by D’Mitrik Trice to start the game. The shot gave the Badgers a 2–0 lead. Illinois then took control of the game with a 13–2 run giving them a 13–4 lead over the Badgers. The Illini never looked back as they coasted to a 15-point victory.
The difference in the game was the play of Ayo Dosunmu. Dosunmu recorded a triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Dosunmu’s triple-double was the first by an Illini player since 2001 and only the third ever recorded triple-double in Illinois history.
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The Illini dominated the Badgers on the boards. Illinois out-rebounded Wisconsin 46-19, including 11-2 on offensive rebounds thanks to Illini big man Kofi Cockburn.
Cockburn, standing at seven feet tall and weighing 285 pounds, collected 14 rebounds while pouring in 23 points. Cockburn reserved all rights to the paint tonight as the Illini center sent in eight monster slam dunks throughout the game.
Trice led the way for the Badgers by putting up a quiet 22 points in the game. Trice shot 9-for-18 from the field.
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Nate Reuvers also provided great production coming off the bench for the Badgers. Reuvers finished the game with 11 points while shooting 50% from the field.
As a team, Wisconsin shot the ball very poorly from beyond the arc. The Badgers converted 16.7% of their 24 attempts from deep. They were 0-for-9 from three in the first half.
Four of the Badgers starters were unable to connect from long range. Only Trice converted from distance, but he still finished just 2-for-7 from three.
On the bright side for the Badgers, they battled hard throughout the entirety of the game, resulting in a back-and-forth second half. Wisconsin even cut the lead to seven points in the second half, though each Wisconsin run was answered by the Illini.
After the win, Illinois is now ranked No. 6 in the nation. The Illini put themselves in second place in the conference, just a half-game behind Michigan (13-1, 8-1).
As for the Badgers, they are still on the hunt for a conference championship, but the path is looking slimmer after the loss.
Wisconsin now sits at fifth place in the Big Ten, two games back on Michigan with seven games left to play. But, Wisconsin lost the head-to-head matchup against all top-three teams in the conference.
The Badgers will be back on the road for a clash with Nebraska (4-9, 0-6) this Thursday. Nebraska is the only Big Ten team that has yet to earn their first conference win. Tip-off from Lincoln, Nebraska is set for 4 p.m. Thursday on ESPN2.