An ugly afternoon from No. 14 Wisconsin allowed Rutgers to come into the Kohl Center and pull out a 73-65 upset win on Saturday in Madison.
Player of the Game: Paul Mulcahy
Ron Harper Jr. led the way for Rutgers with 21 points, but it was the big second half from Mulcahy that got the Scarlet Knights over the finish line. He had 13 of his 18 points after the break, including hitting two shots in the final 5:20 of the game to give his team the lead. That included a jumper as the shot clock expired and a 3-pointer, the latter of which gave the Scarlet Knights a lead they would not relinquish.
The good: Tyler Wahl
The junior had a very good day offensively, scoring a career-high 23 points. He did most of his damage in the first half where he had 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting. That included just his fourth 3-pointer of the year. Wahl’s offensive game continues to impress and he’s become a very difficult cover for defenses, especially in the post.
The not so good: Execution down the stretch
Wisconsin is 11-1 in games decided by six points or less this year because the Badgers have executed down the stretch of games. Whether it has been hitting a big shot, making their free throws, not turning it over, or getting stops on the defensive end, they’ve seemingly always been the team doing the little things right in crunch time.
That was not the case against Rutgers on Saturday as they played uncharacteristically sloppy in the final minutes, including four turnovers after taking a 60-59 lead with 4:49 left. The Scarlet Knights turned those into seven points on the other end. Coach Greg Gard said their turnover percentage in the second half was their worst for a half this season.
Stat of the Game: 52.9%
That’s what Wisconsin shot from the free throw line for the game, including an unsightly 7-for-15 effort in the first half. The Badgers managed to get to the line just twice after the break. Meanwhile, Rutgers went 16-for-18 from the line, giving them a nine point advantage in an eight point win.
In Case You Missed It
— Brad Davison’s cold streak continued against Rutgers. The senior guard went 1-for-9 from beyond the arc and he’s now 4-for-28 on 3-pointers in his last four games.
— The win was the first road win for Rutgers over Wisconsin. The Scarlet Knights improved to 1-5 all-time in Madison.
— The loss was Wisconsin’s first at home with a fully healthy lineup. The Badgers also lost to Providence without Johnny Davis and to Michigan State without Tyler Wahl.
— Davis scored 11 points, his second-fewest in a game this year. He shot 5-for-10 from the field but missed three of his four free throw attempts, all in the first half.
— The loss dropped Wisconsin into a tie for second in the Big Ten with Purdue at 10-4. Illinois is still in first at 10-3 and plays at Northwestern on Sunday.
Wisconsin (19-5, 10-4) will travel to face Indiana (16-8, 7-7) on Tuesday in Bloomington.