No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers Drop One in Champaign to No. 18 Illinois Fighting Illini

The No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers (17-4, 8-3 B1G) fall to the No. 18 Illinois Fighting Illini (16-5, 9-2 B1G) inside the State Farm Center, 80-67.

Wisconsin had no answer defensively for Kofi Cockburn, who finished with 37 points on 16-of-19 from the field.

Overall, the Badgers didn’t play that poorly. Outside of defending Cockburn, they at times played well defensively, got good looks on the offensive end, finished with just six turnovers, but they just couldn’t get the shots to drop.

UW shot 26-for-68 (38.2%) from the field, an atrocious 3-for-24 (12.5%) from 3-point range and 12-of-15 (80.0%) at the free throw line.

UW cut the 12-point deficit to 65-59 with 8:40 left, but the Badgers made just 3-of-14 from the field the rest of the game, with a lot of those misses being really good looks.

Johnny Davis scored 22 points, but he really struggled tonight. I always say stats can be very misleading, in this case points scored is the misleading part. Davis made just 5-of-19 from the field. But he did have a good night at the foul line as he made 11-of-14 free throws. Davis did battle on the defensive end and finished with 15 rebounds.

Tyler Wahl was the only other Badger to score in double-figures as he finished with 14 points.

Lorne Bowman did give UW a spark off the bench in the second half as he went on a personal 5-0 run and finished with seven points on 3-of-4 from the field in 15 minutes. Bowman hit UW’s first 3-pointer of the game with 10:18 remaining.

I was a little surprised with Jahcobi Neath only getting three minutes of playing time tonight considering the struggles from 3-point range.

Illinois does deserve a lot of credit for taking away the heart of UW’s offense which is the posting up of the guards. Illinois was also the more physical team tonight, which feels weird to say because it doesn’t happen very often when a team “out-Wisconsin’s” the Badgers.

Greg Gard postgame said: “Maybe I should have just taped Steven and Chris together, have them together try and guard Kofi.”

Steven Crowl who had been improving since December had a bad night tonight and another guy that really struggled was Chucky Hepburn.

I’m glad this is the only regular season matchup against Illinois, because the Fighting Illini are just a bad matchup for Wisconsin.

The Badgers did some good things tonight and they can’t dwell on the fact they went 3-for-24 from beyond the arc because they have another tough game coming up on Saturday. Need to have a short term memory.

Up Next:

The Badgers will welcome the Penn State Nittany Lions (9-9, 4-6 B1G) to the Kohl Center on Saturday, February 5th. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM (Central Time) and will be televised on the Big Ten Network (BTN).

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