Men’s Basketball: Northwestern stretches losing streak with second-half runs against No. 10 Wisconsin


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Chase Audige takes a three-pointer. Audige’s 16 points led both teams in Northwestern’s loss to No. 10 Wisconsin.

Patrick Andres, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

When playing a ranked team, Northwestern competes early, mounts a charge and fades late. It’s a tune that has become as readily associated with the Wildcats in January 2021 as pulling upsets was in December 2020.

The Wildcats (6-7) followed the script to a tee Wednesday evening, losing to No. 10 Wisconsin (12-3) 68-52 in Madison. The loss capped a 26-day slog in which NU played a program-record seven consecutive teams ranked in the AP Top 25, three of which were ranked in the Top 10. The Cats went 1-6 in the stretch, upsetting No. 21 Ohio State on December 26 before dropping their next six contests. 

“We’ve played tremendous teams during this stretch, and that’s what this conference entails this year,” coach Chris Collins said. “Losing is not a fun feeling. You put a lot into this to try to win, and we haven’t tasted winning in a couple weeks. It’s been a really tough stretch.”

Redshirt sophomore guard Chase Audige led both teams in scoring, putting up 16 points and sinking four three-pointers for the second time this season. Junior forward Miller Kopp added 10 points and junior forward Pete Nance pulled down 12 rebounds, but NU could not overcome the Badgers’ balance as four Wisconsin players — guard D’Mitrik Trice, forward Tyler Wahl, forward Micah Potter, and guard Brad Davison — scored in double figures. 

The Cats kept within striking distance of the Badgers for much of the game, trailing 41-34 at halftime and whittling the Wisconsin lead to five after a Kopp jumper with 16:18 to play. The Badgers, however, ripped off a 12-0 run, getting four points from reserve guard Trevor Anderson en route to a 56-39 lead before an Audige three-pointer snapped a scoreless spell nearly six minutes in length. 

NU briefly battled back to within 58-47 with 6:07 on the clock, but could draw no closer as Wisconsin once again put up 10 consecutive points, this time in less than two minutes. 

“We gotta learn from these really good teams,” Collins said of both the Badgers and the Cats’ other recent opponents. “What are some of the things they do well that we can incorporate to help us be better? Their discipline, their execution, their ability to make winning plays at the right times.”

NU now turns its attention to Penn State, who on Saturday will become the Cats’ first unranked opponent in a month. NU is 4-1 against unranked teams this season, having lost to Pittsburgh on Dec. 9 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. 

“With the level of competition we played, to be able to get out of this stretch with three wins (in the Big Ten overall), it keeps us kind of in the ballgame,” Collins said. “We still have a lot to play for in these last 11 games.”

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