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Wisconsin Crushes Penn State, 82-55

At least the first half was fun.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State lost to Wisconsin 82-55 at the Kohl Center in Madison on Tuesday night. Star forward Nigel Hayes was held to just nine points, but Bronson Koenig led all scorers with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting, while Vitto Brown pitched in 16 points and Ethan Happ scored 14 with eight rebounds.

The Lions kept the game close in the first half thanks to some surprisingly hot three-point shooting by Shep Garner and a solid defensive effort that held the Badgers to just 11 made field goals on 28 attempts. Even with a great advantage in the field goal department, however, Penn State trailed 36-33 at halftime thanks to Wisconsin’s ability to grab offensive rebounds and not turn the ball over.

The game went sour for Penn State when that field goal edge eroded after the break. Ethan Happ started the second half with back-to-back layups before Zak Showalter put the home team up by double digits with a three-pointer. The Badgers rolled to victory from there despite 12 points a piece from Tony Carr and Payton Banks.

Four Factors

Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 71 1.07 50.0% 35.5% 19.7% 47.3%
Nebraska - 0.94 39.5% 34.0% 11.3% 13.2%

Yes, Wisconsin caught up in the shooting game after the first half, but the biggest differences were rebounding and foul shots. Despite having one fewer missed field goal than Penn State, the Badgers notched twice as many offensive rebounds. The Lions usually thrive on free throws, but only two players — Carr and Lamar Stevens — had more than two attempts from the charity stripe.

Player of the Game

Tony Carr is the man since he only need seven shot attempts to score 12 points. He also led Penn State with four assists and showed up in the second half, which is something that can’t be said for Garner and Terrence Samuel.

Random Observations

  • This Wisconsin team is like most good Wisconsin teams in that it’s very fun to watch. While the Lions are built around a group of athletes that aren’t great shooters, the Badgers have less athleticism than other elite programs but make up for it with guys like Happ and Hayes who are very skilled in the post. Since everyone can shoot the ball, you get a lot of passing and very few fouls. That’s fun.
  • Garner got off to a hot start in this game, but he couldn’t carry his jump shot into the second half. The junior shooting guard may average 12 points per game, but he’s been a great disappointment for fans who were hoping for a more mature and efficient Shep this year.
  • I’d rather Pat Chambers give one of the walk-ons a chance than have him trot out Davis Zemgulis when everyone gets in foul trouble again.
  • Penn State has looked like a bad team during these past two games, but it’s important to remember that this is still a very young team playing against two of the best teams in the country on the road. It will get easier to watch from here on out.

Up Next

The Nittany Lions return home to face Illinois on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The game will be televised on BTN!