Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern
In a matchup between a team tied for first in the Big Ten and a team tied for last, Wisconsin opened Wednesday’s game against Northwestern by making three wide open three-point shots in the first two minutes.
It took over 12 minutes for the Wildcats to make three field goals of their own.
After trailing by 17 points early on, the Cats couldn’t make up that much ground by the end of the game. NU (7-22, 2-17 Big Ten) fell 63-48 to No. 24 Wisconsin (20-10, 13-6) and set a program record for most Big Ten losses in a season.
But unlike the Cats did in most of February, they responded to their early deficit and kept the game competitive for most of the second half. Sophomore forward Pete Nance and freshman forward Robbie Beran combined for 14 points in the first half, taking advantage of a small Badgers lineup in the post.
They helped the Cats cut their deficit to 6 points at the break, but Wisconsin went on a 10-4 run in the first four minutes of the second half. The Badgers pulled ahead to a 15-point lead after NU had another eight minute drought without a field goal.
Wisconsin continues stretch of impressive offense
Over the Badgers’ last six games, they led the NCAA in offensive efficiency. Wednesday, that offense was too much for NU to keep up with. Wisconsin made five threes in the first ten minutes of the game and shot 45.2 percent from the field in the first half.
Forward Nate Reuvers led the Badgers with 11 points, and forward Brevin Pritzl led the team with three made three-point shots.
Pete Nance takes another step in the right direction
During a five-game stretch in the middle of NU’s conference slate, Nance averaged just 2.8 points per game, and he lost his spot in the starting lineup. Against Wisconsin, Nance played his best game of 2020.
Looking more like the player who was a pivotal piece against Michigan State and DePaul earlier this season, Nance finished with a team-high 14 points and 6 rebounds. His success allowed the Cats to put Nance at the five as much it has all season, and that lineup helped open up the floor for NU offensively.
Northwestern finishes its road schedule with two road wins
The Cats played 12 games away from Welsh-Ryan Arena this season, and they only won at Nebraska and Boston College. Wednesday’s game at the Kohl Center was NU’s final road game of the season, and the Cats will finish out their conference schedule Saturday against Penn State in Evanston.