Men’s Basketball: Badgers beat Penn State before falling to Iowa in Big Ten Tournament

Wisconsin's focus moves to North Carolina in their NCAA Tournament opener

· Mar 15, 2021 Tweet

Justin Mielke/The Badger Herald

The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (17-11, 11-10 Big Ten) had a hot night of the shooting, which led to a 75–74 victory over Penn State (11-14, 7-13) in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.

As a team, the Badgers shot 52.2% on 23 attempts from beyond the arc. The Badgers were just two 3-pointers short of tying the Big Ten Tournament record for most 3-pointers in a game (14). Wisconsin dominated from the free-throw line as well. They finished the game 13-for-15 at the line including 11-for-11 from the free-throw line in the first half.

The Badgers found themselves down by five points before exploding for an 18-3 run to close out the first half. Aleem Ford went 3-for-3 from the field for eight points during that stretch. Ford finished the game with 17 points and shot 5-for-6 from distance.

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Wisconsin did not let their foot off the gas to start the second half. The Badgers stretched their run to 31-7, which pushed the Badgers’ lead to 49-33. The game felt out of reach, but Penn State gave an honorable effort at mounting a comeback.

The Nittany Lions produced a 17-2 run in the last five minutes of the game to bring themselves within one point. Nittany Lions guard Sam Sessoms scored 13 points in the final seven minutes of the game to spark the Penn State surge.

What was an 18-point blowout quickly turned into a scary finish for Wisconsin. The game came down to the final possession and the Badgers needed a defensive stop. Sessoms penetrated downhill towards the basket but was forced to pass up the ball.

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On the pass, Wisconsin forward Nate Reuvers caused a deflection and Brad Davison was able to secure possession of the ball and call timeout as he was falling out of bounds with 0.8 seconds left to play.

Wisconsin survived and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. As for Penn State, their season is over after failing to secure an NCAA Tournament spot.

The Badgers returned to the hardwood at Lucas Oil Stadium in less than 24 hours for their third game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the last 22 days. Though Wisconsin sprung out to a 32–26 halftime lead, the Badgers couldn’t stop Iowa’s second-half surge, resulting in a 62–57 defeat.

To no surprise, Naismith Player of the Year candidate Luka Garza led the Hawkeyes with 24 points and nine rebounds. Garza was extremely efficient from the floor, hitting 10 of his 15 shots. D’Mitrik Trice led the way for Wisconsin with 19 points.

Next up for Wisconsin is the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers were awarded a No. 9 seed and will take on No. 8 seeded North Carolina with the winner likely taking on No. 1 seeded Baylor. Wisconsin’s tournament aspirations begin at 6:10 p.m. at Mackey Arena.


This article was published Mar 15, 2021 at 8:57 pm and last updated Mar 15, 2021 at 10:41 pm


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