Wisconsin suffered their first Big Ten Basketball loss of the year today at Illinois. It was a tough ask without leading scorer Tyler Wahl. It was a 79-69 loss for the Badgers. Here are some takeaways from today’s game.
Early Production From Supporting Cast
Early in this game, Carter Gilmore and Markus Ilver both had really nice minutes. Gilmore started in place of Tyler Wahl. He looked really good in the paint and had four early points. Ilver was the first sub off the bench and had a nice play on the paint for an early bucket.
The Big Ten Basketball game was Wisconsin’s pace in the first half. The Badgers had the lead for much of the first 20 minutes. It was a tough start for Chucky Hepburn and Steven Crowl. At one point, the duo was 4-16 from the field. Without your leading scorer, it’s a tough ask for everyone else to step up.
Runs Hurt Wisconsin
Wisconsin fell victim to an 11-0 run near the end of the first half and an 11-0 run early in the second half. Illinois took control of this game last in the first half and never looked back. The Badgers were only down 30-27 at the half, but the momentum was with Illinois.
Near the end of the first half, Wisconsin had a lineup of Max Klesmit-Jordan Davis-Markus Ilver-Carter Gilmore-Kamari McGee. That’s a lineup that won’t provide offensive production, and it allowed Illinois to get back in the game. Greg Gard took a timeout and got Chucky Hepburn back in the game, but Illinois had the momentum after that. Gard also put out a lineup similar to this Tuesday against Big Ten Basketball rival Minnesota, and it backfired. It didn’t cost Wisconsin the game, but it was a move Gard probably wants back.
Illinois Had To Play Solid Big Ten Basketball
This was a game Illinois desperately needed. You can’t go 0-4 in Big Ten Basketball and expect to contend. Clearly, they were the more aggressive team and the team that needed this game more.
With the loss of Tyler Wahl, I thought Coleman Hawkins would be a problem for the Badgers. The athletic 6’10 junior hit six threes and finished with 20 points on just 11 shots. Senior guard Terrance Shannon Jr, also a match-up problem, led the way with 24 points. Illinois needed production from their upper classmen and got it when needed.
Overall, it was a tough ask for the Badgers against this Big 10 Basketball usual powerhosue. Steven Crowl and Chucky Hepburn had better second halves, as well. Crowl ended with 20 points, while Hepburn had 22. Wisconsin could have folded when it was 43-30, but they kept fighting.
More Big Ten Basketball Up Next for Wisconsin
It won’t get easier for the Badgers as they host Michigan State Tuesday night. Tom Izzo has his guys playing with confidence. Tip time is scheduled for 6 PM on ESPN.
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