It was a game the Wisconsin Badgers needed. It was a tough ask to beat a team that was 11-1 at home coming into tonight. However, the Badgers earned a hard fought 79-74 overtime win at Penn State, It was the first time in 2023 the Badgers scored more than 70 points. More importantly, this was a quad one win and it helps improve Wisconsin’s tournament resume, Here are three takeaways from tonight’s win.
The Big Three Stepped Up
I was really hard on Wisconsin’s big three after the Northwestern game. Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl had 10 points combined and Chucky Hepburn struggled in the clutch. Tonight, all three were key in tonight’s win. Hepburn led the way with 19 points. Wahl added 16 and Crowl had 11.
This is a game Tyler Wahl needed bad. He has not been good since returning from an ankle injury. Tonight, he played like an all-conference player and finished great at the rim. When he can do that, he is a hard player to defend. I hope this is a game he can build off of.
I thought this was also a game Crowl could benefit from with a smaller lineup. Against a smaller Ohio State lineup, Crowl was solid. He was tonight as well.
Chucky Hepburn needed a clutch shot and he got it. Yes Seth Lundy ended up tying the game to send it to overtime, but we saw a clutch shot and it shows why Greg Gard trusts the sophomore point guard.
The Shooting Was Better
#Badgers shot a season-high 52.8 percent from the field tonight.
UW also with 16 assists on 28 made field goals.
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) February 9, 2023
To be blunt, Wisconsin is a really bad shooting team. They struggle to score the ball and go on long droughts. However, they shot 53% from the field tonight. When the game was on the line, it seemed like that had an answer every time.
Shooting is also contagious. This is a game Wisconsin can build on this weekend at Nebraska. If they can continue to shoot the ball as well as they did tonight, they can make some noise at the end.
Chucky Hepburn and Max Klesmit hit some huge shots in regulation and overtime. It has to be a good feeling for a young team to go on the road against a a good team and shoot their way out of a season long funk.
This Team Is Not Dead Yet
Coming into tonight, Wisconsin was looked at as a team in the first four out or the next four out. Penn State was looked at as a first four out. You have to think these teams would at least switch spots. As mentioned earlier, this is a quad one win for the Badgers, their fifth of the season. It only helps their tournament resume.
I almost put this team in the ground after Sunday’s loss to Northwestern. Only a tough team comes back and wins a game like tonight. I’m not going to say this team is back, but this is a win the Badgers can build off of. They didn’t go cold at the end, they hit shots when it mattered most, and they were able to seal the game at the line.
There’s still work to be done, but the Badgers have something to work off of.
Wisconsin will go on the road to face Nebraska Saturday. While the Cornhuskers are 4-10 in the conference and 11-14 overall, they play very well at home and just beat this Penn State team by nine at home. While it is a tough game, the Badgers should be able to get another road win.
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