Wisconsin’s offense disappears over final 10 minutes in NIT semifinal loss to North Texas

Wisconsin’s season came to an end Tuesday night in a very fitting fashion as the Badgers’ offense came up empty down the stretch in a 56-54 loss to North Texas in the NIT semifinals.

Chucky Hepburn had 15 points in the first half, including going 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. It helped Wisconsin lead the Mean Green 41-29 at the break, as the Badgers shot 50-percent from the floor. But as was the case against Ohio State, Michigan and a handful of other teams this season, Wisconsin went ice cold in the second half. It included not scoring a single point in the final 9:07, allowing North Texas to finish the game on a 10-0 run.

Despite those offensive struggles, the Badgers had a chance to tie the game with 5.9 seconds left and coming out of a timeout. Wisconsin got the ball to Steven Crowl near the post but a game of hot potato with Tyler Wahl ensued with seemingly neither wanting to take a shot, which is exactly what happened as the ball squirted away. It set off a celebration among the North Texas players, as the team punched its ticket to the final.

The Badgers went just 6-for-25 from the field and 1-for-8 on 3-pointers after halftime, while turning it over nine times. Wahl also missed a pair of free throws in the final minute that would have tied the game. Wisconsin was 4-for-8 for the game.

North Texas was paced by Tylor Perry’s 16 points, while Rubin Jones had 12 points. The Mean Green advance to the finals on Thursday against UAB or Utah Valley.

Wisconsin’s season ends at 20-15, with the latter number tying for its third-most losses in the last 30 years.