Cold-Shooting Illini Fall Again To Wisconsin
The Illini men lost their 14th basketball game of the year, and their fourteenth straight to the Wisconsin Badgers, 72-60 Wednesday night in Champaign.
Cold shooting crippled a defensive effort which saw the Illini force a season high 17 Badger turnovers, while holding preseason All-Big Ten team forward Ethan Happ to single-digit scoring for the first time this season.
Illinois converted just 22-62 shots from the field, and only 4-21 from the three-point arc. Even free-throws weren't falling for the Illini, who converted just 12-of-22 from the line, including five straight misses during a crucial late stretch which saw Wisconsin shift a 49-49 tie to a 62-52 lead.
Coach Brad Underwood: “Shoot 30 percent, 50 percent from the free-throw line or whatever … 12 of 22, but it’s 49 all, scored two baskets in 11 possessions, and missed four free throws, and have four turnovers.”
The lone bright spot for Illinois was freshman Giorgi Bezhanishvili, who scored 20 points while holding Happ to 9. Bezhanishvili also grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds.
The Badgers were led by forward Nate Reuvers, who tallied a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, including 2-3 from three-point range, and a perfect 6-6 from the free-throw line.
Bezhanishvili said Reuvers took whatever the defense gave him.
"Ruevers is a great shooter, so he shot the ball well, so we had to defend him outside," he said. "He just played a simple game, you know, really simple."
D'Mitrik Trice also converted 6-6 from the free throw line, and connected on 2-4 three-pointers for the Badgers, finishing with 16 points
Kahlil Iverson added a dozen points.and Brad Davison 10 for the Badgers.
Wisconsin improves to 13-6 overall, 5-3 in the Big Ten. Illinois is 1-7 in the league, and 5-14 overall.
The Illini travel to New York City Thursday. They'll play 13th ranked Maryland on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. That game tips at 11 a.m. Central.