Wisconsin Basketball: Bryant McIntosh Too Much in Badgers’ Loss to Northwestern

The Wisconsin basketball team fell to Northwestern Tuesday night

The Wisconsin basketball team lost its third consecutive game with a 70-65 loss to the Northwestern Wildcats on Tuesday night in Evanston. The Wisconsin Badgers fell to 9-9 overall and 1-4 in Big Ten play.

Wisconsin struggled to contain Bryant McIntosh, who finished with a game-high 28 points on 10 of 19 shooting with four rebounds, five assists and a steal for Northwestern, who improved to 15-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference.

Northwestern dominated the paint all game long. The Wildcats outscored Wisconsin 30-18 in the lane and outrebounded the Badgers 34-25. Wisconsin racked up three offensive boards in the final 24 seconds, but the Badgers struggled on the offensive glass against the Northwestern zone. The Wildcats grabbed 11 offensive rebounds.

The Wildcats made their mark on the free-throw line, shooting 34 free throws, although making just 22 of them. Wisconsin got to the line just 13 times and made 10.

Wisconsin shot 24-for-51 (47.1 percent) from the floor, including 7-for-21 (33.3 percent) from the three-point line. Nigel Hayes led the Badgers with 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field with six rebounds and six assists.

Ethan Happ finished 4 of 6 from the floor for 12 points with six rebounds and three steals. Bronson Koenig made some big shots but finished with nine points on 3 of 9 shooting, including 3 of 8 from the three-point line. Zak Showalter finished with eight points and seven assists.

Vitto Brown saw his playing time decrease significantly with just 14 minutes, and reserve forward Alex Illikainen finished with 21 minutes of action. Brown scored four points with one rebound. Illikainen and Iverson finished with six points each, and Jordan Hill had three points and three assists.

The Badgers have struggled through extended second-half scoring droughts in recent losses to Indiana and Maryland, and that was the case again against Northwestern. Wisconsin led the Wildcats 47-45 with 8:56 left before Northwestern went on a run, and the Badgers went cold.

Northwestern went on a 7-0 run, and Wisconsin made 2 of its next 10 shots from the field, including zero field goals for 4 minutes, 10 seconds until Khalil Iverson‘s put back cut Northwestern’s lead to 68-63 with 22 seconds left, which was too late for the Badgers.

Wisconsin fought through two mini scoring droughts early in the game as well. The Badgers went scoreless for 3 minutes, 11 seconds, and following a jumper from Showalter, the Badgers went 3 minutes, 56 seconds without scoring.

Meanwhile, Northwestern scored on its first six possessions and jumped out to a 14-5 lead with 12:39 left in the first half. Wisconsin answered by making its next six shots as part of a 13-2 run to take an 18-16 lead.

Both teams finished the first half cold, combining for 2-for-8 shooting and three turnovers in the final 4 minutes, 32 seconds.

This was just the latest in the string of tough losses for the Badgers, who need to rattle off some big wins to even be considered a bubble team for the NCAA tournament. Wisconsin will look to improve its resume on Sunday when the Badgers host No. 4 Michigan State in the Kohl Center.

Stay tuned to Badger of Honor for more coverage of the Wisconsin basketball team.