INDIANAPOLIS – After a home run at the regular season finale, a loss that cost Wisconsin the outright Big Ten, the Greg Gard players have spoken of their desire to return to the field in the Big Ten and play better basketball.
They said their lackluster performance in the one-point loss to Nebraska was unusual.
The Badgers returned to the field Friday night against contender Michigan State in the Big Ten quarterfinals but if they perform in the NCAA Championship as they have for most of the game against the Spartans, the offseason could come quickly.
UW’s shot was poor from the first minute, flowing in batches after halftime but eventually couldn’t make enough shots or get enough stops and suffered a 69-63 loss to the Spartans.
Result box:Michigan State 69, Wisconsin 63
more:Freshman Chucky Hepburn demonstrated his leadership skills nearly two years before arriving in Wisconsin
more:Stephen Kroll, who gave a surprisingly lackluster performance, is eager to get back on the court and help the UW in the Big Ten
“I know our guys were disappointed, and they wanted to keep playing and keep playing,” Jared said. “But she’s not good enough for long enough to stay in the championship.”
The Badgers (24-7) suffered their second straight loss – the first time this has happened this season – and will now wait until Sunday to see their NCAA rankings.
UW was shown as No. 3 entering play on Friday and could still open the tournament at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
The Badgers are now 15-3 in games decided by six points or less, with two defeats from their last two games.
Michigan State (22-11) advances to face either No. 3 Purdue or No. 11 Pennsylvania State in the semifinals at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Badgers went into shooting today with just 31.3% of a three-point range and 42.7% overall.
They posted uglier numbers in the first half when they missed all three of their three-point attempts and only scored 7 out of a total of 29 shots (24.1%).
UW finished 7 of 24 from three-point range (29.2%), 22 of 60 overall (36.7%) and 12 of 21 from the free throw line (57.1%). They only hit 11 of the 20 on the edge.
“I just missed the shots,” second guard Johnny Davis said. “It happens in the game of basketball.”
Davis, who trained sparingly during the week after sustaining a right ankle injury in the regular season finale, was asynchronous from the start and appeared to be pressing in the first half when he hit only one of his 10 shots. He finished 0 for 5 from a three-point range and 3 for 19 overall but still contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“I’m sure their game plan was to try to get those shots off or counter those shots hard,” Davis said. “But a lot of those shots were just on me, being rushed through or not getting the look I wanted.”
Brad Davison scored 10 points out of 23 to keep UW within two points after the first 20 minutes. He missed 50 seconds left and UW is late, 62-58.
“Every time you have the opportunity to compete, you want to be there for your team,” he said.
Chuckie Hepburn added 11 points, Stephen Crowe added nine points, and Tyler Wahl added eight.
Hepburn scored a three-pointer in the second half, the first pulling the UW in at 56-53 with 3 minutes 15 seconds left, and the second to tie it 58-58 by 1:56 on the left.
Michigan State’s Tyson Walker (11 points, seven assists) responded with a basket in the fairway. Hepburn missed an indicator out of three. Walker scored again to give the Spartans a 62-58 lead with 58 seconds left.
“In the last inning against Michigan State, we just couldn’t stop,” Wall said.
After a timeout by UW, Max Christie (eight points) blocked Davis’ drive. UW trailed, 65-60, when Hepburn hit her third triple pointer in the first half to cut the deficit to two points with 16.2 seconds left.
Walker took the win by hitting four free throws trapped around a missed jump by Davis, and the Spartans were leading.
“I have a lot of respect for Jared, the work he did with a team no one expected,” Michigan State coach Tom Izu said. “He’s a really good basketball team.
“And we give credit because I thought we did really well with Johnny which is something special. But I’m sure he hurt, when he got down there last week and maybe he didn’t train that much it had a he-she relationship.
“So overall, I’m excited that we won a match, got a chance to get ahead and maybe start doing some of the things we haven’t done.”
Marcus Bingham Jr., averaging 8.9 points, thrashed UW inside with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
“He was getting close to where he was,” Wall said. “He’s a heck of a player. He’s been in control for a long time. He’s been killing us.”
Whether Bingham scores seven consecutive points in a 45-second period to turn a two-point deficit into a five-point lead midway through the second half or Walker hits two crucial baskets late, Michigan State has made crucial games.
UW has not.
“It’s all those things that we did before, long before we ran,” Jared said, referring to an early foul problem, missed shots and given up rebounds in attack. “Today we weren’t good in the first 38 minutes to be able to go all the way and put an away game.
“You know, we didn’t lose the game in the last two minutes. There will be 50 things I’ll find in the first 38 goals that put ourselves in that position.”
“Award-winning social media nerd. Food specialist. Amateur entrepreneur. Pop culture maven. Subtly charming explorer.”