Wisconsin @ Illinois

Maryland escapes an upset attempt @ THE Ohio State early tonight.  Wisconsin needs a win @ Illinois to keep pace atop the B1G.  Illinois is a solid home team but an unremarkable 13-9 so far.  Illinois a great political science department though.

1st Half

UW with an unsightly turnover to start but IL can’t do anything with it.  Next time down IL singles Happ and he takes advantage with a short jump hook.   Koenig then patiently works himself free to successive midrange jumpers.  IL ice cold to start.  The hosts take a quick TO after Hayes drains a 3 off a nicely picked out kick from Happ.  IL get off the mark with a long 2.  Showalter drains a quick 3 off an IL miss.  12-2 UW.  He was wide open which is the only reason you’d ever see UW take a shot off 1 pass that early in the shot clock.  So far 4/5 UW starters have scored (looking at you vitto).  Again IL clangs a midrange jumper and Happ patiently works the drop step for 2-more.  IL needs to think of something other than chucking midrange jumpers.  Also guarding Ethan Happ would be wise as Koenig slips to him for another 2.  Iverson loses his man off an inbounds and IL hits a 3.  IL finally connect down low to cut it to 16-7 but Iverson hits a 3 which is not in his scouting report.  Hill gets lost a GB defender and IL hits the open 3.  He does not atone for his mistake as he is waaaay off on a 3.  Trice hits 2 in transition off a turnover and UW keeping IL at arms length.  Tries exaggerates some contact and draws a foul.

Wisconsin 21  Illinois 10  11:57′ 1st half

Vitto Brown gets off the mark to give UW a 2 touchdown advantage.  Tremendous balance thus far.  Now 7 different Badgers on the scoresheet.   Vitto Brown just outmuscles a couple IL guys for the offensive rebound.  Remarkable effort and draws a foul.  Pretty work off the bounce for Koenig for 2 as the shot clock expired.

IL grabs its 3rd offensive reboudn already which seems sloppy by UW.  Charlie Thomas erases what looked to be an easy layup for IL.   Il struggling to find some ideas on offense.  Very little ball movement before the shots.  Both offenses sputtering a bit but UW witha  26-10 advantage can afford the lull.  IL switches to zone and Trice misses a corner 3.  IL makes a 3 and then forces a turnover as the IL zone bothers UW.   Showalter misses a bunny and IL looks to push the pace offensively.  Nice D on the ball by Koenig.  Clusmy all around and ANOTHER UW turnover.  IL within 11.  Brown airballs an open 3 and UW has no answers for the IL zone.

Koenig hits the 3 as Hayes again shows his strength as traffic cop at the elbow in the zone.  Syracuse and Rutgers learned that Hayes can kill you in the zone and now IL.  Hayes then tough D to force a shot clock violation.  Showalter wild on the drive and another UW turnover.  Aaron Moesch on for UW and immediately gets worked on D.  Hayes long 2 won’t stay down and IL creeping closer as UW is limping to the end of the 1st half.   Hayes finds Thomas on the roll to the hoop for a needed 2.

Wisconsin 31  Illinois 17  2:49′ 1st Half

Koenig forces a needless 3 but Thomas bails him out snatching the offensive rebound.  Brown draws another foul off the ball.  His work rate is impressive.  UW still not in the bonus however.   Brown then misses another 3.   Important last 2 minutes as IL tries to get back in contact.  IL just iso ball but drains a 3.  Showalter misses a 3 as UW just can’t make shots anymore.  But Moesch hustling on the glass gets UW another possession.  UW 3/17 on its last 20 attempts.  Happ grabs an offensive rebound and UW basically just holding onto the ball for the last 90 seconds or so.  4 offensive rebounds keep extending possessions.  Koenig forces a contested jumper and Brown tips in the miss.  So a 5th offensive rebound basically to end the half.  My lord.  Did IL just think they would get the ball off the miss like a FG?

HALFTIME Wisconsin 33  Illinois 20  

Stats from ESPN

  • 8 different Badgers on the scoresheet.
  • Wisconsin has 7 assists on its 14 makes
  • Both teams doing a good job offensive rebounding.  But that last sequence was a killer for IL who had plenty of chances to grab a UW miss and get within single digits.  IL made a 3 with 1:41 left and 4 offensive rebounds later didn’t touch the ball again
  • UW led 26-10 with 10:41 left 1st half but scored just 7 points the rest of the way including the last second tip-in by Brown to close the half.
FG Made-Attempted 14-33 8-25
Field Goal % 42.4 32.0
3PT Made-Attempted 5-14 4-10
Three Point % 35.7 40.0
FT Made-Attempted 0-0 0-2
Free Throw % 0.0 0.0
Total Rebounds 23 14
Offensive Rebounds 9 4
Defensive Rebounds 14 10
Team Rebounds 0 0
Assists 7 5
Steals 3 2
Blocks 1 1
Turnovers 5 6
Team Turnovers 0 0
Total Turnovers 5 6
Personal Fouls 4 5

2nd Half

Happ opens the 2nd half with a steal and score.  Should have been And1 too.  Sweet jump hook answer from IL.  Shot clock violation, turnover , turnover, next 3 UW possessions.  Brown with a strong drive, fouled on the shot, no call and out of bounds to IL.  UW offense can’t get started in the 2nd half.  Happ pokes it away and dives after it and somehow is called for a foul?  That’s a terrible call.  Ridiculous, first on the floor shouldn’t get called for that.  He got the ball.  That was a no call.  IL drains a midrange on the other end and IL within 9.  Happ with a wild shot and Iverson hustling all the way steals it back.  Koenig misses a 3 but Hayes with the putback dunk.

Wisconsin 37  Illinois 26   15:03′ 2nd Half

Iverson with a careless pass and then not exactly full exertion on D by him leading to an easy IL hoop.   Showalter with a great ball fake and soars to the hoop for 2.   IL answers with a 3.  Hayes fighting down low and eventually draws a foul.   Iverson hits a 3 to extend UW back to a more comfortable 11-point advantage.  Thomas with great D but heavy feet leading to offensive rebound for IL.  Just slow to react.  Looks like a plodder.  Showalter tagged with a foul on the rebound and ball stays with IL.  IL big shoves Thomas on the rebound and foul away from the ball on Brown.

Wisconsin 42  Illinois 31  11:58′ 2nd Half

Heavy feet or not, Thomas bails out Brown and swats away IL shot.   Touch foul on UW on the putback and IL chance to get within 8.  UW without Hayes, Koenig, and Happ for a stretch and it hurt on both ends.  Those 3 back in hopefully to stabilize things.  UW go for the highlight reel alley oop to Iverson and finally a foul called on IL.   He bricks both.  Off a steal, IL pulls within 6 and Gard has to think about a TO.   Koenig gets nothing on the drive and Happ with a dumb 3rd foul.  IL misses a 3 which could have halved the deficit.  UW needs an answer.  Showalter with a critical 3 to push the margin back to 9.

IL split some FT and UW needs to get its big 3 involved.  Hayes gets a shooting foul.  He misses both and Iverson knocks it out of bounds.  But somehow still Duke ball.  IL foul before the inbound.   UW again with an adventure inbounding.  Happ in good position down low and smooth left handed shot.  47-37 UW.  Iverson rejects an IL layup out of nowhere and on the other end Hayes slashes in for 2.  IL takes another TO.  They have 1 left.

Wisconsin 49  Illinois 37  7:59′ 2nd Half

IL misses and UW has a chance here to run some clock and perhaps give IL too much to do with clock nearing 7′ left.   Hayes pure on a midrange.  B1G graphic says no IL FG since 10:55 and Iverson knocks it off IL big forcing a turnover.  His energy is remarkable.  Iverson the logical heir to the Showalter role next season.

Yet another foul off the ball on IL.  UW will be in the bonus on the next one.  Koenig misses a dagger 3, letoff for IL that.  Brown called for the foul on the IL drive and they make both FT.   IL looked to have a clean steal and bail out whistle on IL saves a turnover.  That looked like a no call to me.  instead Hayes to the line for 1-and-1.  He’s true on both.   Back to 14-point advantage.  IL misses a 3 off 1 pass and UW neesd to keep burning clock.  Brown throws it away on a feed to Hayes.  Little impatient there from Brown.  IL doing that annoying thing of rolling the ball up the court.  IL misses and again UW with a chance to twist the knife. Hayes did the Eurostep thing that would be fine in the NBA but looked a travel and correctly called.  IL gets a layup but the margin is still 12.  UW can take it around 4′ left on this possession.   Happ with a pretty pass fake and spin for 2.  UW takes a TO perhaps to give a short rest to its big 3 with the under 4 approaching.

Wisconsin 55  Illinois 41  4:13′ 2nd Half

Happ barely grazes rim on the 1-and-1.  IL stays cold and then foul Happ which isn’t a terrible idea considering his FT shooting. Except he misses so badly IL can’t control the rebound and UW gets it back.  Showalter misses a 3 and we’re under 3′ left.  IL has to be perfect here on out.  Teams just trading misses as this one meanders to a conclusion.

FINAL  Wisconsin 57  Illinois 43

  • An efficient commanding performance from UW.  A needed result after escaping Rutgers.  The game was never truly in doubt as UW led the entire way with a fairly balanced attack.  The concern for this team continues to be Happ FT shooting (Hack-an-Ethan wouldn’t be the worst strategy).  Without Happ + Koenig + Hayes the Badger offense doesn’t have many ideas.  UW got a pair of big 3s from Iverson but only 10 total points from its bench.  Koenig just 4-13 from the floor tonight but he had a few shots he had to force as the shot clock expired.

Stats from ESPN

FG Made-Attempted 24-59 16-58
Field Goal % 40.7 27.6
3PT Made-Attempted 7-23 5-21
Three Point % 30.4 23.8
FT Made-Attempted 2-9 6-9
Free Throw % 22.2 66.7
Total Rebounds 47 36
Offensive Rebounds 20 16
Defensive Rebounds 27 20
Assists 10 7
Steals 7 5
Blocks 5 3
Total Turnovers 12 10
Personal Fouls 12 15



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