The Badgers never got into an offensive rhythm, shooting an abysmal 25 percent (15-of-59) overall and 23 percent from beyond the arc (7-of-30) in the 57-46 loss to Ole Miss. Credit Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, who deftly switched between a zone and man defense. That disrupted the Wisconsin shooters, who never got on track. The Badgers led at halftime, but Ole Miss ripped off 17-5 run early in the half to take a 47-41 lead with 3:26 left. The Rebels never looked back and cruised to victory.
This was the first time Wisconsin lost its first NCAA game since falling to Arizona in 2006. The Badgers finish 23-12.
Read some more about this game:
Key moment: Ole Miss’ Murphy Holloway snatched the ball from Wisconsin big man Jared Berggren and jetted in for a layup to give the Rebels a 40-39 lead with 8:33 to go. It was Ole Miss’ first lead of the half after trailing, 25-22, at intermission. Ole Miss star Marshall Henderson came alive in the second half after scoring just two points in the opening 20 minutes and hitting one of his first-13 shots. The fast-talking and uber confident Henderson finished with 19 points. It took 21 shots, but his confidence never wavered.
Key player: With Jared Berggren (2-of-10), Ben Brust (2-of-9), Traevon Jackson (2-of-10), Ryan Evans (2-of-8) clanking, freshman Sam Dekker did his part to try to pick up the slack. Dekker hit 5-of-13 shots and finished with 14 points. But it wasn’t nearly enough.
Key number: 14, points Wisconsin was outscored by in the second half by Ole Miss. The Rebels took over the contest in the final 20 minutes, beating the Badgers at their own game: playing tough defense.
What’s next: Wisconsin looks toward next season, needing to replace seniors Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans and Mike Bruesewitz. Bo Ryan will build around Ben Brust, Sam Dekker, Traevon Jackson, George Marshall and Frank Kaminsky as the Badgers aims for a 16th consecutive NCAA trip in 2013-14.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.