Wisconsin 79, Penn State 74 (OT): Last word

Wisconsin won its second straight road game, earning a 79-74 win in overtime at Penn State on Wednesday night.

Player of the Game: Tyler Wahl

It’s been a struggle for the senior forward since returning from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury, and coach Greg Gard made it clear after the last game that he believe Wahl had more to give. Well, he was obviously right, as Wahl delivered one his best games of the season. He scored 10 points in the first half and 16 for the game, while coming up with six rebounds. Wahl added a career-high eight assists, including a beautiful find to Steven Crowl in overtime for a layup. He even went 4-for-6 from the free throw line, a jump up from the 48% he had been shooting in Big Ten play.

The good: Contributions from everywhere

Wisconsin got contributions up and down the lineup to pull out the win. Chucky Hepburn delivered 19 points and went 5-for-9 from deep, including a huge 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left in regulation to give the Badgers a 68-65 lead. Connor Essegian dropped 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting, while Crowl had 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists despite being limited to 24 minutes. Max Klesmit continued his tough defense and had a great left-handed layup in overtime to make it a two-possession game with 44 seconds left. Even the bench helped out, as Jordan Davis posted eight points and five rebounds, and Carter Gilmore played some big minutes late when Penn State went small and forced Crowl out of the game.

The not so good: Another run

Basketball is a game of runs, but it seems Wisconsin always seems to give them up at inopportune times. On Wednesday, it was when the Badgers led by seven with 8:08 left. Over the next 3:39, Penn State went on a 13-3 run to take a 3-point lead. However, unlike some of the previous runs the team has endured this year, they didn’t flinch. They fought and found a way to win a game they desperately needed.

Stats of the Game:

52.8% — That is what Wisconsin shot from the field. It was the highest percentage of the season and the Badgers best since hitting 54.4-percent in a win over Louisville on Dec. 19, 2020.

9 — That is how many 3-pointers Penn State hit on the night. The Nittany Lions came into the game averaging nearly 11 per game. They hit two in the first half and seven in the second but went 0-for-5 in overtime.

5 — That is how many straight wins Wisconsin has over Penn State. The Badgers have just three losses to the Nittany Lions since 2004.

In Case You Missed It

https://twitter.com/BadgerMBB/status/1623537192789282816

— The win moved Wisconsin into sole possession of 10th place in the Big Ten and just one game back in the win column of five teams with seven games to play.

— Wisconsin is not flying back to Madison before heading to Lincoln. Gard said they’ll head to Nebraska tomorrow in advance of Saturday’s matchup with the Huskers.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (14-9, 6-7) will visit Nebraska (11-14, 4-10) on Saturday.


Kenney & Heilprin: Chase Wolf Leaves, Wisconsin's Returning Production, Ben Has An Obsession

Ben and Zach are live for a podcast-only episode talking about Ben's obsession with Brian Ferentz's new contract with Iowa, Jesse Temple's piece on Chase Wolf leaving the Wisconsin football program, Wisconsin's returning production on both sides of the ball and Greg Gard


The Camp: Feb. 7, 2023

The QB room has one less guy in it. Zach and Jesse talk about Chase Wolf no longer being with the program and what led to that. They also discuss Wisconsin's recruiting efforts in the state, the commitment of Jamel Howard, superlatives for the 2023 class and expectations for Luke Fickell's first year. They close by answering your Twitter questions. 


Bucks beat Portland for 8th straight win

Milwaukee stretched its winning streak to eight games Monday night with a 127-108 win at Portland.

The Bucks never trailed, taking a 10-point lead to half before blowing things open in the third quarter by outscoring the Trailblazers by 14.

Brook Lopez led the way for Milwaukee, scoring 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds. The veteran also passed 15,000 points in his career with a 3-pointer in the third quarter.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week earlier in the day, had 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in just 23 minutes, while Jrue Holiday added 20 points. Khris Middleton had 13 points off the bench.

Portland got 28 points and five assists from Damian Lillard. Anfernee Simons chipped in 21 points

The win kept Milwaukee one game back of Boston for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks will now head to Los Angeles to face the Lakers and Clippers on Thursday and Friday, respectively.


Badgers: QB Chase Wolf reportedly no longer with the program

Wisconsin’s quarterback room has one less player in it.

Chase Wolf, who originally planned to return for a sixth year, is no longer enrolled at the school and is not with the team.

The Athletic's Jesse Temple was the first to report the news.

https://twitter.com/jessetemple/status/1622747296105472000

Wolf told reporters after the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at the end of December that he had gotten into a graduate program at Wisconsin and figured he’d take advantage of his COVID year to play one more season. The Athletic reported that when he made that decision, coach Luke Fickell and offensive coordinator Phil Longo told him, that while they would be adding a number of quarterbacks from the transfer portal, he would be able to compete for the starting quarterback job in the spring. But just days before players were set to return for winter workouts, Wolf was informed that there would be no competition and the job would be transfer Tanner Mordecai’s.

Wolf spent much of his career as a backup to former starter Graham Mertz. He saw action in 13 games and didn’t make his first start until the bowl game against Oklahoma State. He threw for 116 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the win, and finished his time in Madison with more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (3).

The move leaves Wisconsin with five scholarship quarterbacks, though just one — redshirt freshman Myles Burkett — remains from last year’s team. In addition to Mordecai, the others are redshirt freshmen transfers Nick Evers (Oklahoma) and Braedyn Locke (Mississippi State), and 2023 recruit Cole LaCrue.

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Skyler Bell was recently a guest on The Zone’s Kenney & Heilprin and was asked about Mordecai, Evers and Locke.

"They all can sling it,” Bell said. “I’m getting close with those guys. Tanner is is a little older, he's a vet, he kind of knows the offense. Nick is young, but he's got a cannon on him and he's confident. And then Braedyn, he can make all the throws and everything about Braedyn is just on-point. So all those guys can ball. I can't wait till spring ball.”

Mordecai comes to Wisconsin after spending the last two years at SMU where he threw for 7,152 yards, 72 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He also showed some ability to escape the pocket and make plays with his feet, running for 302 yards and four scores.

That ability to move, which is shared by most of the quarterback room, is a change from a lot of the guys that have led Wisconsin’s offenses in the last decade.

“It’s huge,” Bell said of having a passer with some mobility. “Because when you have a guy back there who can make something happen when nothing is happening, that's big. If he's rolling out the pocket left, and he's still looking downfield and he tells me go deep, and he can make that throw, that's a big play that wasn't supposed to be a big play. That's six points that we probably wouldn't have had if he couldn't extend the play. So I think things like that are just going to really help us. Not that quarterbacks in the past couldn't extend plays, but when you have a guy whose ability is to extend plays, it’s really big and it's hard on defenses.”


Northwestern beats the Badgers, sweeps season series for first time since 1996

Northwestern earned its first season sweep of Wisconsin in more than 25 years on Sunday night with a 54-52 win at the Kohl Center.

The Wildcats held a 52-51 advantage in the final 30 seconds and withstood two potential game-winning shots from Chucky Hepburn, including one with six seconds left, before hitting a couple of free throws to essentially ice the game.

Boo Buie had 13 points to lead the way for Northwestern, which also got 11 points and seven rebounds from Chase Audige.

For Wisconsin, it was another frustrating night on the offensive end of the floor in what was its seventh loss in the last nine games. The Badgers shot just 38-percent for the game and only 37-percent from inside the 3-point line. The only reason they were in the game at the end was due to hitting nine 3-pointers, including five from freshman Connor Essegian.

Hepburn finished with 17 points on 6-for-15 shooting, though he was just 1-for-4 in the final 1:28 of the game. Essegian added 15 points, all of them on 3-pointers, but also missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with about two minutes to go that would have tied the game.

For the night, the Badgers were just 5-for-11 from the free thrown line, a continuation of what has become a significant issue for the team. In its last seven losses, Wisconsin is shooting only 54% from the stripe and are now at 65.0% for the season.

The Wildcats did a very good job limiting Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl in the paint with strong double teams. It led to just 10 points on 10 shots combined, though each had four assists.

Wisconsin dropped to 13-9 overall and 5-7 in Big Ten play with the loss. It left the team sitting in a tie for 10th place with a Penn State team the Badgers will face on Wednesday night on the road.


Giannis posts triple-double, Bucks beat Miami for 7th straight win

Two days after posting his third 50-point effort of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered another powerful effort in Milwaukee's 123-115 win over Miami on Saturday night.

The Bucks led for much of the game, but took just a two-point advantage to the fourth quarter before outscoring the Heat 29-23 in the final period to get their seventh straight win.

Antetokounmpo scored 35 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and 11 assists, his third triple-double of the year. When he was on the floor, Milwaukee was 19 points better than Miami.

His big night was backed up by 19 points from Grayson Allen and 24 points from Khris Middleton off the bench. For Middleton, he played 21 minutes, his most since returning from a knee injury six games ago. He also set a season-high in points.

The Heat got 32 points from former Marquette star Jimmy Butler, while Wisconsin native Tyler Herro had 24 points.

With the win, the Bucks moved to within one game of Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. They'll now hit the road for a three-game trip starting Monday in Portland.


Kenney & Heilprin: Wisconsin WR Skyler Bell Joins The Show

Ben and Zach are live from Monk's in Sun Prairie with Wisconsin wide receiver Skyler Bell. The guys chat with the redshirt sophomore about winter workouts, his reaction to the hire of OC Phil Longo, the new additions at wide receiver from the transfer portal, what he's seen from the new quarterbacks, where he thinks his game can grow and more. 


The Swing: Feb. 3, 2023

Wisconsin hung on to beat Ohio State on Thursday night. Zach and Jesse talk about the great first half, the strong offensive effort from Connor Essegian and Steven Crowl, the ugly final 7:18, Tyler Wahl's struggles and they get into your Twitter questions. 


Wisconsin 65, Ohio State 60: Last word

Wisconsin didn't make a shot from the field in the final seven minutes of the game but managed to hang on to beat Ohio State 65-60 on Thursday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Player of the Game: Connor Essegian

The freshman gave Wisconsin a much-needed lift offensively in the first half as the team scored 43 points after managing just 16 in the first half last Saturday against Illinois. Essegian accounted for 14 of those, including hitting two of the four 3-pointers he put up, and all four technical free throws he got near the end of the half. Shots and makes were a little more difficult to come by in the second half (1-for-4) but he was able to offset that with a bounce back game on the defensive end.

The good: The first half

The first 20 minutes was exactly what you wanted to see from Wisconsin after three-straight losses, including the last two by double figures. The Badgers were crisp on offense and locked in defensively. They got contributions up and down the lineup on offense, including Essegian, Chucky Hepburn (12 points) and Steven Crowl (11 points) as they shot 51.6% from the field. Crowl really shined, starting the game 5-for-5 and showing some nice touch around the basket in addition to hitting a 3-pointer.

On defense, they played tough on the inside and got some good minutes off the bench from Carter Gilmore. Wisconsin closed the half on an 8-0 run that gave the team a 16-point lead at the break.

The not so good: The last 7:18

Wisconsin couldn’t make it easy on itself, watching a 15-point lead dwindle to two in the final 7:18 of the game. As good as the Badgers were offensively in the first half and portions of the second, making 23 of their first 46 shots, they were that bad in trying to finish the Buckeyes off.

Coach Greg Gard’s club did not make a shot from the field in the final 7:18, going 0-for-9. Essegian’s layup gave them 62 points at that point and they didn’t score again until a free throw by Hepburn with 24 seconds left. It was especially tough stretch for Tyler Wahl, who had four of Wisconsin’s nine misses and failed to hit either of the free throws he attempted.

All that said, the Badgers did find a way in the final minutes because of their defense and some clutch free throws. Max Klesmit took a charge coming out of a timeout with Wisconsin clinging to a 62-56 lead and that was followed up by a steal from Essegian. After Ohio State got within two in the final 30 seconds, Hepburn stepped up and went 3-for-4 from the line to close it out.

Stats of the Game:

12 — That is how many points Klesmit scored, including nine in the second half. He was the only Wisconsin player to make more than one shot from the field in the final 20 minutes.

59.1 — That is what Wisconsin shot from the free throw line on its 22 attempts. The Badgers came into the game shooting 66.3% for the season, ranked 306th in the country.

2 — That is how many points the Badgers got from their bench, with Gilmore providing those with a nice move inside in the second half. The three players that played off the bench, Gilmore, Jordan Davis and Kamari McGee took a total of two shots, and the latter two combined to play just 11 minutes.

16 — That is how many turnovers Ohio State had. The Buckeyes came into the game averaging just 11.

In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin wore its black, player-inspired uniforms for a second time and improved to 2-0 in them.

— Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was ejected near the end of the first half after picking up a pair of technical fouls for arguing a call by the referee. It allowed Wisconsin to turn a 37-27 game into a 43-27 game at the break.

— Buckeyes star freshman Brice Sensabaugh battled foul trouble much of the night and played only 16 minutes. He still managed to do damage, though, scoring 13 points and grabbing three rebounds.

— Wisconsin improved to 5-6 in Big Ten play, moving into a tie for 10th place. However, the Badgers are just one game back of fourth place, as there are currently six teams tied at 6-5, and two games out of second place.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (13-9, 5-6) will welcome Northwestern (15-7, 6-5) to the Kohl Center on Sunday.