I mentioned in my preview that Wisconsin was due for some regression towards the mean in regards to their home shooting percentages. The Badgers had been shooting just 22% from 3 in Big Ten play at the Kohl Center, so of course they made 11 of their 22 attempts yesterday. None were bigger than Jared Berggren's two down the stretch to end another big PSU run that was needed just to get out of the massive hole they put themselves in. Unfortunately Jon Graham hasn't had much experience chasing 6'11" posts around screens on the perimeter, and Berggren made them pay.
I didn't think PSU played as poorly as the score said in the first, but that's what happens when you don't make the open shots while your opponent catches fire from behind the arc. Wisconsin made seven first-half threes that busted the game open. Some were due to PSU failing to pick up certain shooters from 3-point line, but Wisconsin also was in a great rhythm in their swing offense. When they're clicking with everyone on the floor capable of hitting a three-pointer, they're very tough to guard.
The lead got all the way to 20 in the second half before PSU mounted another big run. They cut it to as low as 5 after a 17-2 stretch but were unable to get closer. Berggren's threes twice pushed Wisconsin's lead back to 3 possessions. What was really encouraging, however, was PSU's comeback included zero three-point shots. They were getting great looks inside to Jon Graham, who had his best game in a Penn State uniform. If Graham made one more foul shot, he would have had his first career double-double, but he still finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds. Believe it or not, Penn State outscored Wisconsin 32-8 in the lane.
Penn State did an unreal job of taking care of the basketball. They only turned the ball over five times in the whole game. Unfortunately, they weren't able to shoot well enough to have it count for something (only 4-18 from 3). A big issue down the stretch was rebounding, as Wisconsin had a few prolonged possessions that melted the clock away. The Badgers grabbed 6 offensive rebounds in their last 14 possessions. It was frustrating because most of them were a result of weird bounces instead of PSU not having position, but that's the way it goes sometimes.
Tim Frazier had his 14th 20-point performance of the season, scoring 20 in addition to 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. He played all 40 minutes and this one of the few games where fatigue seemed to have an effect towards the end of the game. He still outplayed UW's Jordan Taylor, who was hampered with foul trouble for most of the game. Jermaine Marshall finished the game with 12 points on 8 shots, but 7 of those points came within the last 5 minutes. You have to like a guy who will show up in the clutch, but as a 2nd scorer, PSU needs to be a weapon for the full forty minutes. Especially since the road Cammeron Woodyard showed up and made just 1 of 9 shots, many of which were of the open variety. Colella didn't offer much perimeter scoring either, only making 1 of his 5 attempts. Ross Travis was effective with 5 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists in 23 minutes. Good things tend to happen when Travis puts the ball on the floor. I would like to see some more of that before the season is over.
The Nits get the week off before they have a chance to ruin Northwestern's first ever NCAA tournament bid.