1, Free Throws Kept Golden Eagles In It
Marquette finished 35.4 percent from the floor, stuck under 40 percent for the majority of the contest. Markus Howard – Marquette’s leading scorer – went 7-for-29 from the floor, including 2-for-14 in the second half. What kept the Golden Eagles in the contest was getting the line. Marquette went 22-34 from the line. Of Howard’s 27 points, 12 came from the free throw line on his 15 attempts,
2, Free Throws Take Wisconsin Out of It
Wisconsin shot 50 percent the field, but the Badgers faltered because UW couldn’t make the free ones. UW went 10-for-21 from the line, including 5-for-12 in the second half that cost them opportunities to build its lead. Wisconsin has shot as a team under 70 percent from the free throw line the last two seasons and sit under that benchmark again, a growing concern in this close games that UW appears destined to play consistently.
3, Scoring Droughts
Throughout the entire game, both teams went back and forth as the lead changed 13 times and neither squad leading by more than six. What hampered Wisconsin was some lengthy scoring droughts, particularly in the second half. After taking a 51-48 lead with 10:21 remaining, Wisconsin went nearly five minutes without a basket, becoming too dependent on perimeter shots, missing one on four consecutive one-and-done possessions.
In the final two minutes of overtime, Wisconsin missed three field goals, two free throws and committed a turnover, preventing several opportunities to put substantial pressure on Marquette.
4, No Movement
Speaking of how Marquette limited its rhythm, Wisconsin’s offense late in the second half seriously lacked movement. Every time the Badgers got in the half court, the offense had the appearance of get the ball to Ethan Happ and watch the senior work. When Happ needed a rest, Wisconsin would get into its set with around 10 seconds on the shot clock, which occasionally lead to a rushed or forced shot. Credit to Marquette for altering their game plan and mucking things up on the defensive end, especially when it came to limiting D’Mitrik Trice’s right-shooting hand.
5, Marquette Had A Happ Problem
One of the things to look for each night is how teams choose to guard Happ, who is cognizant of it and tries to take advantages where he can. So, when Marquette hard doubled Happ when he touched the ball in the post, he took advantage by kick outs that fueled ball movement and easy buckets. When Marquette started to mix things up with showing double and recovering, that created an even bigger problem with Happ going off for 17 points on 8-for-11 in the second half to carry Wisconsin to overtime. Happ finished the game with 34 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and only two turnovers.