Penn State hands Wisconsin its first Big Ten loss

No. 11 Wisconsin’s unbeaten start in Big Ten play is over following the Badgers loss to Penn State on the road Tuesday night.

Coach Greg Gard’s club led just once in the game — a 3-pointer from Max Klesmit with 4:44 left — before Penn State scored four straight to re-take the lead. It would be the last field goal for UW until AJ Storr hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds in what was an 87-83 loss.

Wisconsin struggled to get stops much of the night. Penn State got out to a hot start, leading the Badgers by as many as 12 in the first half. They clawed back into it but failed late in the game to defend without fouling, sending the home team to the line 10 times in the final 5:01 where they hit nine of them.

The Nittany Lions would go on to shoot 53.3% from the field, with Kayne Clary leading the way with 27 points. Ace Baldwin chipped in 20 points, while Nick Kern had 15 points.

Wisconsin was pretty good on the offensive end when it actually got to take a shot. The normally disciplined Badgers had 13 turnovers, which Penn State turned into 16 points. It was the second-straight game with a double-digit number of giveaways for Wisconsin, which has now turned it over on nearly 20% of its possessions the last two games.

Storr paced the Badgers with 23 points and five rebounds, while Steven Crowl finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds – his third double-double this season. John Blackwell gave the club 14 points off the bench.

Klesmit, coming off of scoring 42 points in the last two games, was limited to just 15 minutes due to foul trouble. He still managed to score 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Tyler Wahl had 11 points and seven rebounds, but also accounted for five of Wisconsin’s turnovers. Chucky Hepburn didn’t score (0-for-4 on FGs) for just the third time in his 85 games in a Badgers uniform.

The loss dropped Wisconsin to 5-1 in Big Ten play, though it still owns a 1/2 game lead on Purdue for the top spot in the conference.

The Badgers will return home to face Indiana on Friday.