Wisconsin looked to get back in the win column at home taking on the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State has never won at the Kohl Center and is 0-17. After a wild game with plenty of missed shots and big runs. The Badgers came out on top 51-49. Here’s three things.
The Badgers are no stranger to winning low scoring games. When shots aren’t falling, Wisconsin really locks in on the defensive end and makes the game ugly. These teams started a combined 2-17 from the field. With seven minutes left in the first half Penn State was 1-20 from the field with five turnovers.
Wisconsin couldn’t capitalize on this abysmal start from the Nittany lions because once again the shooting and overall offensive struggles were there. After shooting just 3-24 from 3 at Illinois, the first half saw the Badgers go 1-10 from behind the arc. Wisconsin limped to a five point halftime lead which saw the two teams combine 8-61 from the field and 2-22 from three. Not to mention the 13 combined turnovers. Halftime score was 18-13 and many Badger fans saw flashbacks of the 2011 Big Ten tournament collapse against Penn State. Where the Jordan Taylor Badgers lost 33-36. Apology in advance for bringing up that painful memory.
Johnny Davis Slump?
Points aren’t everything with Johnny’s game, like the back-to-back 15 rebound games he had this season. But, there comes a point and time when it is ok to bring up the conversation of an offensive slump. Heck, even the greatest shooter of all time Stephen Curry went through a month-long slump this year.
Greg Gard said he told Brad Davison and Johnny Davis to thank their teammates after the Penn State win.
"I said you guys have carried us a lot of nights. Tonight, it was their turn to carry you."#Badgers
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) February 6, 2022
- In the last four games Johnny is shooting just 40% from the field. Then this afternoon shooting 2-13 from the field. Again though, other parts of his game are contributing to wins like his nine rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two blocks today. I personally am not worried about Johnny at all. The Illinois game was a perfect example of why. He is still getting to the spots he wants on the floor and getting good looks. Shots just aren’t falling right now. I’d like to see him get to the free throw line more often. Not one attempt this afternoon.
Here's J o h n n y! @JohnnyDavis // @BadgerMBB pic.twitter.com/KSnHuwsnk8
— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) February 5, 2022
I fully expect Johnny to get back on track sooner rather than later. As long as the star is shining in March, Wisconsin will be successful. This recent slump for Davis has also allowed others to step up in big moments while gaining confidence. How about 23 combined points from Steven Crowl and Chucky Hepburn today.
Rising to the Occasion
Late in the second half the Nittany lions all of the sudden couldn’t miss. They took a four point lead after making four straight shots from the field. Shooting 7/11 from three in the half at this point, coach Gard was forced to call a timeout. The life had been completely sucked out of the Kohl Center.
Greg Gard postgame:
"I told them good teams find a way when things aren't going your way offensively." #Badgers
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) February 6, 2022
Just like this resilient team has done all season, answering the challenge. How about responding with a 13-0 run including two monster threes from Crowl. Time and time again this team has shown the resilience to come back from double digit deficits and long scoring droughts. When the Badgers grew a nine point lead, Penn State responded with a 9-0 run. Wisconsin once again took back the lead thanks to a Tyler Wahl impressive drive to the hoop. Followed by a perfect defensive possession which included timely fouls to give.
In the end, another Big Ten win is never something to sulk about. Just ask Michigan State who got pounded against Rutgers today. Speaking of the Spartans, Wisconsin must refocus soon as they have a rematch in East Lansing Tuesday night. This time having Tyler Wahl healthy will certainly help.
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