Rapid Recap: Wisconsin 62, Northwestern 46


Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

Dererk Pardon dribbles in the post. The senior center had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Peter Warren, Web Editor

Men’s Basketball

MADISON, Wis. — The battle between senior forward Ethan Happ and senior center Dererk Pardon was expected to be one of the best matchups of the weekend.

The battle was more of a skirmish, as Happ displayed why he is potential a All-American while Pardon struggled to make an impact.

The Potential Big Ten Player of the Year ran the show like Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic for the Badgers (13-6, 5-3 Big Ten). He finished the game with a triple-double and put on an impressive display despite poor shooting numbers. The Wildcats (12-8, 3-6) were unable to match Happ’s performance and struggled all day shooting the basketball, as they fell 62-46 at the Kohl Center on Saturday.

For the Cats, they worked on feeding the ball to Pardon in the post to start the game and working around his post-up. While he made one successful move and finish about 90 seconds into the game, he failed to make another shot until the second half.

But NU adjusted offensively and was able to start to go on a 15-10 rally over a six-plus minute span as junior forward Aaron Falzon and senior forward Vic Law went 3-for-3 from long distance to give the Cats the lead.

Then, it all went downhill.

Over the last six-plus minutes of the first half, Wisconsin went on a 14-2 run that turned the game from a 22-20 NU advantage to a 34-24 Badgers lead at the half. Both teams struggled from the field in the second half, but Wisconsin was much better and never saw their lead go into single digits again.

The Cats tried to get back into the game and there were potential momentum-changing moments. But NU was never able to build on them as the Badgers held firm, holding the Cats to under 30 percent from the field for the game.

1. Wisconsin is more than Ethan Happ. Ethan Happ is arguably the most accomplished baller playing in the Big Ten at the moment. He is a two-time Big Ten first team member, All-American and winner of Big Ten Player of the Week four times this campaign. And while the 6-foot-10 forward had an impressive statline — 13 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and two blocks — it was his teammates who stepped up to turn the game from a close contest into a double-digit game.

Sophomore guards Brad Davison and D’Mitrik Trice were each on their game. Both were in double-figures when the first-half horn sounded. Trice was a perfect 4-for-4 in the first half, including 3-for-3 from deep. Davison hit two mid-range jumpers and a three-pointer during the final minutes of the first half to spark the Badgers’ game-changing run. Both guards finished the game with 18 points.

2. Ryan Greer looked as confident as he has ever been. The freshman guard has not been given a lot of playing this season. Entering the game, Greer had been averaging under ten minutes a game. He played more than that in the first half alone, entering the game at the 13:17 mark and only sitting for a 30 second break during that span. Running the point for that stretch, Greer looked steady with the ball in his hand and was not afraid to attack the basket. When the Cats came out for the second half, Greer was in the first five. And while he did not get as much time in the second half, he illustrated his potential use by Collins down the stretch.

3. When the shots do not fall, it is tough to win games. It was not a good day for the Cats shooting the ball. The ream finished with a shooting percentage just under 30 percent on the day at 16-for-54 from the field. NU was also unable to get to the foul line, having only eight attempts. And while they held the Badgers to only 43 percent shooting from the field, it takes a defensive masterpiece to win a basketball game in 2019 with only 46 points scored. Usually, Pardon’s post-ups lead secondary means of earning easy baskets on a consistent basis. But going forward, the Cats need to find other ways to score efficiently.

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