Badgers Bungle Down The Stretch, Fall 59-52 to Minnesota

Badgers Bungle Down The Stretch, Fall 59-52 to Minnesota

Basketball

Badgers Bungle Down The Stretch, Fall 59-52 to Minnesota

It appears to be the sports year for Minnesota to end lengthy losing streaks to the University of Wisconsin.

Possibly inspired by the Gophers football team ending a 14-year losing streak and reclaiming Paul Bunyan’s Axe in Madison less than two months ago, Minnesota delivered a resume-building 59-52 victory over No.22 Wisconsin at the Kohl Center Thursday.

Junior guard Amir Coffey was the star with 21 points for the Gophers (12-2, 2-1 Big Ten), which beat the Badgers in Madison for the first time since 2009 and broke a string of eight straight losses to their border rival.

UW (10-4, 2-1) shot 63.6 percent in the second half but couldn’t dig out of a 17-point halftime deficit that was caused by an abhorrent display of offense.

Against a team that entered the night No.62 in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom, Wisconsin scored an obscene 14 points on 6 of 26 shooting. That computes to 23.3 percent, a balmy number compared to UW going 2-for-14 from 3-point range (14.3 percent).

UW finished the first half 1 of 10, scored no points in the final 3:31 and let Minnesota go on a 15-3 run over the final 7:02, with Coffey scoring all the points (and outscoring UW by himself).

The first six minutes of the second half was a complete 180. Ethan Happ went on a 7-2 run by himself to cut the lead down to 10, and UW added five more consecutive points from Nate Reuvers and Trice’s first basket to cut the lead to five with 15:33 remaining.

Happ finished with 17 points and Reuvers with 12, but the low-post duo got almost no help from their guards. Brad Davison scored only four points, Khalil Iverson attempted just two shots and Trice shot 3-for-10, as Wisconsin fell to 0-4 when he scores 10 points or less (he finished with eight).

Things got tougher after that. Minnesota went on a 9-2 run to bump its lead back to 12, the last six courtesy of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions by UW-Milwaukee transfer Brock Stull, who wanted to play again for former coach Rob Jeter, currently a Minnesota assistant.

UW chipped the lead back down, got double-double machine Jordan Murphy (5 pts, 11 rebounds) with just under four minutes left and made its final push.

Trailing 49-38, Wisconsin went on an 9-0 run and picked things up defensively, holding the Gophers to six consecutive empty possessions that ended with four straight turnovers. The excitement ended there, however, as the Gophers scored the next six points – the final four off sloppy turnovers by Trice and Davison.

UW finished 5-for-22 from 3-point range and an ugly 7-for-17 from the line, including 1-for-7 from Happ.

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