MINNEAPOLIS — It wasn’t shocking the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team walked out of Williams Arena with a defeat Thursday night.

The surprising part was how the No. 20 Badgers lost.

UW had control of the game and uncharacteristically let it slip away. The result — a 58-53 overtime loss to Minnesota — ended an impressive streak and struck a major blow to the Badgers’ chances in the Big Ten Conference title race.

One of the trademarks of coach Bo Ryan’s program is the ability to hold leads in crunch time. The Badgers had won 50 consecutive games when leading or tied with 5 minutes to play, including 15 in a row to start this season.

That streak ended in dramatic fashion against the Gophers (18-7, 6-6 Big Ten), who rallied from a six-point deficit over the final 5 minutes of regulation and never trailed in overtime to end a four-game losing streak to the Badgers.

Minnesota sophomore point guard Andre Hollins scored seven of his game-high 21 points in the extra session, including four free throws in the final 17.9 seconds to clinch the program’s first victory in this series since Feb. 18, 2010.

“The sky was falling around here,” said Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, whose team had lost six of its previous eight games before rallying against UW. “So sometimes when the sky is falling and you’re laying under the ceiling, you think it’s going to cave in on you. They wanted it, but we had to have it.”

The Gophers showed that urgency down the stretch by clamping down on defense and forcing UW to make mistakes it usually doesn’t make.

There was plenty of blame to go around for UW (17-8, 8-4), which scored four points over its final 15 possessions of the game. The Badgers went 8 minutes, 48 seconds without scoring after senior forward Ryan Evans made a free throw to give UW a 49-43 lead with 5:08 remaining in regulation.

Evans missed his final five free throws of the game and finished 2-for-8 overall. He was also 2-for-8 from the field, including several misses in the paint early in the second half.

“If he just makes his free throws, we’re out of here. We’re on the plane already,” Ryan said of Evans, who dropped to 40.3 percent at the line on the season. “C’mon, what am I going to do with the guy? You know it was going to get us one game —  hopefully, not two? What can you say?”

Another senior, Mike Bruesewitz, made a critical error late in regulation. The forward, whose on-the-money inbounds pass set up Ben Brust’s buzzer-beating miracle at the end of regulation Saturday against Michigan, was in a similar position with UW clinging to a 49-47 lead with 22.6 seconds remaining in regulation Thursday.

But Bruesewitz turned the ball over after taking too many steps while trying to inbound the ball to senior forward Jared Berggren. Minnesota’s Joe Coleman made the mistake hurt by drawing a foul and making two free throws to tie the game with 17.6 seconds left.

“It was my fault,” Bruesewitz said. “I messed it up. I knew I shouldn’t have moved. We had a timeout and I knew it was getting close (to a 5-second call). I tried to step and took one too many.

“The internal clock’s getting down. I’ve been in that position 100 times, if not more. I’ve done it enough in practice when you can’t move. I just took one too many steps. I was trying to get a better angle to get the ball into Jared. They called it and that was the game.”

UW still had a chance to win it in regulation. Ryan called a play that had Berggren set a rub screen for sophomore point guard Traevon Jackson at the top of the key. Jackson hit the winning shot with 2.1 seconds remaining in UW’s 45-44 victory over Minnesota on Jan. 26 at the Kohl Center, but this time he forced up a jumper in that paint with time running down that didn’t come close to going in.

That ended a stretch of eight consecutive empty possessions for the Badgers to close regulation.

“I just didn’t make a play,” Jackson said. “I thought I got a foul, but I’ve got to make a play. They’re not going to call a foul in that situation.”

Things didn’t get any better for UW’s offense in overtime. Evans missed two free throws with 4:07 left, and the next two possessions ended with Jackson missing forced shots on drives to the basket.

“He really struggled,” Ryan said of Jackson, who finished 3-for-14 from the field. “He couldn’t complete the play. He was trying to draw some contact. He just didn’t make some good decisions finishing. Getting in there, you can draw people and then make a pass or kick it out.”

Hollins’ 3-pointer with 3:38 left in overtime gave the Gophers the lead for good.

UW freshman forward Sam Dekker, who finished with a team-high 14 points, made two free throws with 1:20 left to cut UW’s deficit to 54-51. But Berggren missed an open 3-point attempt on UW’s next possession, and the Badgers allowed about 15 seconds to run off the clock before fouling Hollins.

He made two free throws with 17.9 seconds remaining, then answered a Berggren putback with two more with 6.4 seconds left to seal UW’s fate.

“Those are games that we’ve got to learn from,” Jackson said. “We usually do a good job of closing those out. Credit to them, they hit some big shots, got some stops, they deserve to win. They were a better team today.”

The defeat dropped UW two games behind Big Ten co-leaders Indiana and Michigan State with six games remaining. There’s a good chance this loss will come back to haunt UW down the road.

“The last few games, we just found a way to grind it out and make just enough plays to come out with the lead,” Berggren said after UW’s three-game winning streak was snapped. “Tonight, we just weren’t able to do that.

“There’s a lot of games left. But if things do come out where we end up a game short (of first place), this is definitely one that we can look back on and have some regrets.”

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(41) comments

foodanddrink
foodanddrink

I agree, the Badgers next coach is coaching in Virginia right now, but it ain't Tony Bennett. There's absolutely no question in my mind that it'll be a kid that grew up in Oregon, WI. Wait until you see what he brings to this great university. All the passion, dignity and discipline of Coach Ryan, but with a style of basketball that excites and gets up and down the floor. Wait until you see the kids that want to come here because of him. The only thing I'm trying to decide is who is going to bring a National Championship here first, Gary or Shaka? It's going to happen.

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

@foodanddrink;

I was envisioning Smart while typing that out; great talented focused intense coach. I posted here about this time last year, addressing last season's call for Ryan's scalp, that either Bennett or Smart would be a GREAT fit. The latter has spurned some seriously flirtatious overtures by some pretty attractive, and well-heeled, suitors.

Both are great recruiters and even better coaches, and both with WI ties. What's not to like?

But we're at the 3/4 pole for this season; I say let's Go BADGERS!

The Gotch

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

I think some 'fans' here may not recall how JT struggled as a freshman/sophmore the same way Hughes did before him. Ryan's guards (most of his players, actually) make their biggest improvement leap going in to their junior season. JT, Hughes, Wilkinson, Leuer, Tucker, Harris, Brust, etc.

Don't be too tough on Jackson. Everyone has been clamoring for someone to create off the dribble; he's trying. This isn't like digging ditches and you can see exactly how much progress you've made at the end of each day.

TJ has made some boneheaded plays (is he trying to set a record for turnovers?), but he's also made some great ones. I hate to sound like a Cubs fan (hey; wait'll next year!?) but the strong moves to the rim he's not finishing this year, he WILL finish next year.

Those shouting for more Dekker, be careful what you ask for. He's a liability on defense (who fouled after the Bruiser brain f**t?) when he's playing too many minutes, and other teams know it. He's only going to get better, and I'd be more than happy to donate ~ 25 pounds I have but don't need that he needs but doesn't have.

The only time we're going to get a kid like Dekker is if they grow up wanting to be a Badger.
Won't be but a couple of years when Ryan decides to hang it up clearing the way for our next coach; Tony Bennett. Until then, as BB fans, we sure could have it a whole lot worse!

Go Bucky, we OWE OSU!!

The Gotch

pete
pete

hang last nights loss on Jackson, wow was he over his head. I kept thinking there was no way he would continue to lose the ball one possession after another - yet he did.

XLBadger
XLBadger

Bo has to recognize the impact his "Senior" priority will have on top level recruits ... Evans playing over Dekker has visibly created discord among players ... even though players won't (can't) speak out, their body language on-the-court shows their frustration with Evans ... he continues to play without any sense of urgency - he jogs back on defense, stands in the paint aimlessly, misses back help and switches and often bets beat or fouls ... he stands idle on offense until he gets the ball then isn't willing to give it up ... often forcing an inappropriate play ... poor passes ... poor shot selection ... poor intensity ... poor leadership ... poor results

saveme
saveme

With regards to recruiting, Wisconsin is not 2nd behind Indiana. The best I've seen is 4th behind Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. Purdue and Ohio st are around the same level. While the next class is better than normal, it is still a poor class nationally as they are not in the top 25.

ThirtySeven
ThirtySeven

Disappointing loss. I agree with all the comments related to Dekker playing more and Evans less. It truly is a no brainer. I also think Kaminsky needs some more time on the court. The seniors are letting Bo down, and he is letting them. Playing time is never guaranteed, it's earned each week. 5th grade teams throughout the state shoot free throws better then this years Badgers. Evans is an athletic defender, that's it. He's made more mistakes on both ends of the court then the other starters combined.. The team has overachieved and I think Bo is a great coach, but Evans is playing way too much. He needs to sit and earn his way back, or not.

seered
seered

You know its crazy how this team can be so different from one game to the next. In that light i wonder if BO even has a game plan anymore? He doesnt know who will show up either.
I do agree he has gone way beyond stubbornness to borderline paranoid giving the senior Evans way too much benefit of the doubt. Dekker deserves to start, from NOW on out.

But go easy on the ole ball coach, its very difficult to coach a team of mystery, one game to the next. I wouldnt be surprised if this team blew out osu or the complete opposite happens and osu gives the UW their worse loss in the Kohl......who knows....even the great and wonderful BO-OZ doesnt know!

mattm29
mattm29

Acapitalidea,

Are you kidding me? Where are the recruits? If you knew a bit about basketball or cared to research you'd see their class is second in the Big Ten behind Indiana. Can't say I can disagree with too much else you've said.

Also, whoever said bubble team is way off base. They were in after the @Illinois game and locked it up against Michigan, however, this years team with Bucky's usual tournament play will not be a good combination for WI fans.

It was another game (and season) where they'd string you along just enough to give you hope and then break your hearts at the end, happy vday.

On a last note, can't fault the guys effort for the most part. They really do play until 00:00 no matter who they're up against.

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

I likely know more about the Badgers than you think. When you've followed them for 50 years then maybe you'll have a different perspective. I do know basketball and I have read all about the recruits and the great things said about them and their wing spans and other superlatives. I've seen the hype before. I think Bo is a great coach, but it's becomeing evident that's only within his narrow philosophy. Maybe he needs an offensive coordinator, but in any event it's the offensive side of the court that holding back the Badgers from reaching the next plateau, and up until now, Bo hasn't done anything substantial to rectify that. Remember the Lexington, KY Badgers fan from a few years ago who said Jordan Taylor, by far our best player at the time, might be good enough to make the Kentucky basketball team, but he wouldn't play much? Other than Dekker, nobody on the team has nearly Taylor's potential. As for the new recruits, as I said, stay tuned. You won't see a transformation unless it starts with Bo.

ferobson
ferobson

Every time I see Evans he has changed his approach at the line. Last night he got in position to shoot and was way to deliberate. Just focus on the front of the rim take 3 bounces and come right into the shot. Cocking for the shot then deliberating doesn't get it done and the "bigs" need to drive it from the top of the key once in awhile or they will never get any clean looks. GO BADGERS!!

foodanddrink
foodanddrink

“C’mon, what am I going to do with the guy? You know it was going to get us one game — hopefully, not two? What can you say?” -Bo Ryan

Really coach? Really? What the hell are they paying you to do? This is become a case of borderline incompetence.

foodanddrink
foodanddrink

Dekker is not a liability defensively, I don't know where people are getting this. They then go on to say that Evans is a shut down defender. He is not. He has VERY slow feet, poor weak side vision, and a low basketball IQ. I understand things are earned in this program, but there has to be a point when that way of thinking becomes counter productive. Bo said after the Michigan game that he meant to put Evans in the game at the end. Really? He then goes on to almost cost you the game! Then Bo told a reporter, "I can't just take the guy out and destroy what little confidence he has left.". That's when I became convinced that Bo's age is catching up to him. That's pure nonsense and old age stubbornness. That's exactly what you do coach, you absolutely pull him in that situation. This is big time D1 basketball, start coaching like it. Start playing your best player more, freshman or not. Talk about ruining the confidence of someone! Sam actually has a future in this game. So frustrating.

toby
toby

I've coached bball for 35 yrs. and if I learned one thing it's a game of rhythm & flow. Wisconsin is a great defensive minded team that takes others out of their flow but on the other end their style of play does the same thing to them. The lack of recruiting of the 6'8" ish atheletic player that can create offense on their own is very apparent.

hoosierbadger
hoosierbadger

This is a very weak senior class,if being in the top 4 of the Big ten,getting to the sweet 16 is good enough then so be it.At Indiana,MSU and Michigan it is not.Dekker is a nice player but defesively he is a liability..All being said what Bo has done so far with these guys is pretty impressive.He needs to stop recruiting so heavy in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

And then again when the game was on the line last night, Evans let his man dribble by him for an easy layup. Then he got that Bret Bielema look, like "Where am I?"

pony
pony

that was my line

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

Sorry. I guess we saw the same look.

rockemred
rockemred

WoW feel the anger and disapointment in Bo and the team. A couple of things,, The Badgers are prone to scoring droughts and we observed another in the "Barn". Ryan Evans cannot bring the team out of a scoring drought, neither can Bruisewitz, and Bergerren hasn;t been able to do it either (in the B-10 conference games), that leaves Brusk, Jackson, and Dekker, Dekker has to play more. Jackson had a horrible game and usually if he turns over the ball Bo has him on the bench and George Marshall takes over(not last night, why?) As frustrating as the Badgers can be to watch offensively, they play hard. Minnesota didn't look any better winning that game as the Badgers did loosing it. I think this loss will be forgotten if we can beat Ohio State on Sunday, which is definately possible. Jackson will be paired against the Big Ten's top defender in Aaron Craft, so Jackson better not try his horrible crossover move, . Deshaun Thomas is the Big Ten scoring leader and shot attempter (gunner) he will shoot whether he is making them or not-so someone is going to have to make it more difficult for him than he is used to. Bergerren needs to be a more consistant scorer and more physical in the paint--play Dekker more, Evans less.

magnum1
magnum1

These guys had the best oppertunity to put this game away in the last 12 seconda of the game. They didn't take their best shot and waited to long to shoot!

Habitat
Habitat

The Badgers have been very fortuitous (read: lucky) in late game situations recently. It was only a matter of time until the pendulum swung the other way. Lol at all of the hand wringing.

XLBadger
XLBadger

Bo is maintaining a very risky precedence by playing Evans over the more talented Dekker, simply because he's a senior ... this may work for average player development in order to be productive in later years, however this team suffers from his choice ... UW players can be seen visibly frustrated as Evans misses his FTs again, and again, and again ...a level of discontent has affected team morale and Bo refuses to, or can't, see it. Is it possible that Bo has reached "The Peter Principle"?

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

If Bo pulled Evans after every mistake as he does with others, Evans wouldn't play much. Ryan Evans is a good kid, but so is Cody Zeller. Recruit Bo, recruit.

RedPine
RedPine

Have to disagree with some of the comments. Very frustrating loss but Ryan Evans is a very good defender and a very good rebounder---kept them in the game during the offensive lapses---and deserves lots of court time. Agree he can't be in at the end but sometimes it's hard to shuffle in/out and not get caught. Dekker is going to be great but his defense, while improved a lot from November, needs work. Still, he needs the time he's getting and more. Jackson has improved tremendously. He seems to get too casual with passes at times and needs to kick it back on some of his drives or at least take the contact, but this is his first year playing! Brusiwitz took too many shots last night but he brings a lot to the game---this team needs him. Finally, the Badgers at 8-4 in the BIG is amazing---I would have lost a lot of money betting against this likelihood. Great job Bo!!!!....now see if you can recruit some power forwards.

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

At the end of the season if the Badgers have a big enough lead or are behind by a bunch Bo inserts some nameless senior players into the game in the final minute who likely have never played in all four years they've been on the team. Seems to me it's inexcusable to recruit players apparently so bad they never play. Why not take a chance with a couple of Florida or North Carolina high school players who for whatever reason have potential but were over looked and have decent grade point averages. Maybe there's a diamond in the rough. But if Bo's bench warmers are just there to fill up the team picture, that's pathetic.

jdg11
jdg11

If I am the opposing coach I don't know whether to tell my team to foul Evans and watch him miss two free throws or let him shoot and just get the rebound when he misses. This guy is having an awful senior year. I say let Dekker play and keep Evans on the bench.

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

What's on the horizon that would make one believe next year's team is going to be any different? Certainly not Bo's recruiting class. Where are the athletic 6'10" 260 pound scorers and rebounders quality teams can attract? Who's going to consistently score? Nobody does now. If someone scores 15 points it's a big deal. From game to game nobody knows who's going to lead the team. That's not balance, that's inconsistency and lack of talent. With all due respect to Berggren, the very mediocre front line will all be gone, and Bo doesn't let freshmen play much. Other than Kaminski and Dekker, who has any extended playing time? Is there someone on the bench who should be playing in place of Evans? Apparently not. That says a lot. Jackson is careless with the ball and shoots poorly, especially for a point guard. If Bo was hanging hit hat on Gasser, it goes to show there isn't any depth. Will the team rely on winning games with 3-point baskets and continue to have no inside game? Stay tuned.

badgernorth
badgernorth

Hard to defend Bo on this one as his X's and O's seemed to be missing. His loyalty to Evans is noble but it is killing the team. Jackson is NOT a ball handler, but who on the team is? Berrgren is too tentative and not playing like a senior. They have already over achieved their pre-season 8th place forecast. They are now a bubble team for the NCAA.

foodanddrink
foodanddrink

If Ryan Evans continues to play more that the most talented guy on the team (Sam Dekker) I will not only give up my season tickets, I will actively campaign for Bo's resignation. Screw your rules, screw your system, this is fricken ridiculous. Enough is enough. This is big time D1 b-ball. Time for the COACHING STAFF to grow the F up. Give me one example where stubbornness wins? Ryan Evans with the ball in his hands is an absolute disaster waiting to happen. Dribble dribble dribble, almost lose it, pump fake (x7), throw up a prayer or a turnover. Enough is enough. No Ryan's decisions cost us this game. Bo, enough is enough. Stop being so f-ing stubborn. I would totally understand if Dekker transferred. That would be the end of the Ryan Etta. Make some changes "grinch".

pony
pony

Bo kept Rob Wilson on the bench for 31/2 years before finally using him . probably the same for Sam Dekker.

worst game coach in college basketball. no offensive plays at end of game. does not how to use fouls. has the same look as Bret at end of close game. Where am I ?

toobad
toobad

And it was Evans with the ball in his hands late in the Syracuse game last season (when he shouldn't even been on the floor) that cost UW a chance to move on.

seered
seered

Cant blame Bruiser for the brain **** it should never have come down to that. Shot 0-9 in the last 7 minutes, 5 missed layups and 4 missed 3's. I think they only had 4 pts on Ft's.
That will not win any games. It doesnt matter how good your defense is you have to put the damn ball in the hole.
Games like this and msu at home sort of cancel out the great wins at indiana and mu at home.
They arent forgotten, but one has to wonder what happens one game to the next with this team.
Berg having visions of first place maybe thats what got in the way tonight? Listening to the hype instead of staying focused. This team never was a contender, only a pretender, and that was obvious tonight. Instead of 1st place this team better suck it up and figure out a way to keep BO's record of never less than 4th place in tact.

thisguy
thisguy

FREE throws. 5 missed in regulation (8 of 13). This, combined with the MSU home game, makes (at least) 2 games we have lost due to poor FREE throw shooting. UNACCEPTABLE! Bo is my man, but please! Ryan "very little effort" Evans needs to remember what it felt like to be left off of the (high school) team and Berg needs to bring it full-time, not just once in a while. This team has potential! Just not as long as our seniors coast along all willy nilly. Please, please, please, somebody, please help this team get it together for tourney time!

All complaints aside, I would have never bet on Bucky being 8-4 at this point, well done boys!

BuckysFather
BuckysFather

Guys its ONE LOSS. No need to freak out. Everyone was praising the team just a few days ago. Still a very solid basketball team. Believe in Bo. Trust in Brust. We'll be alright.

Badger4Life85
Badger4Life85

Have our guys not heard of a fake pass to set up a real pass? What about protecting your dribble? Back door cuts? I'm appalled by the lack of an offensive scheme. Defense is great, but you still need to score consistently yourself to win on a regular basis.

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

Bo may have the all-time winning percentage in the Big Ten and his teams may allow the fewest points year in and year out, but Bo doesn't seem to know squat about recruiting athletic offensive players. Wisconsin's inept inside game came to light when they hit only 24% of their threes. Scoring droughts of eleven and nine minutes is half the game! Sam Dekker is a gem. There must be more like him out there.

bpro
bpro

Agree, but perhaps Bo does not know squat about coaching a team which truly has a group of athletic players?

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

I'm about Bo's age and I've had to change with the times to be successful. Bo's probably coached this way at all levels for his entire career and it's not working any longer. You may be correct. At this rate Bo will finish his career with considerable personal success, but he's doing the basketball program and Badgers fans a disservice if he doesn't reboot. I don't care for Crean and Izzo, but I have to give them credit whom they recruit and how they coach.

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

I'm about Bo's age and I've had to change with the times to be successful. Bo's probably coached this way at all levels for his entire career and it's not working any longer. You may be correct. At this rate Bo will finish his career with considerable personal success, but he's doing the basketball program and Badgers fans a disservice if he doesn't reboot. I don't care for Crean and Izzo, but I have to give them credit whom they recruit and how they coach.

badgerball
badgerball

The was a very poor effort from the badgers from start to finish. We took an early lead, let it slip away before half, and didn't play with any sense of determination or confidence in the second half. Jackson moped around the entire game, coughed up the ball, and tossed up brick after brick on his way to the hoop; Bruiser was so excited about the charge he took that he wasn't paying attention on the ensuing inbounds play; and there really is no excuse for a division 1 college basketball player to shoot anywhere near as poorly as Evans from the line. That we weren't in the game mentally was evident throughout but most obvious when we let 15 seconds run off the clock before fouling in the last minute of OT. The lone bright spot tonight was Dekker. Evans gives us more of a defensive presence than Dekker, but Dekker more than makes up for anything he gives away on defense with his ability to score and hit shots from the line. This was an ugly game, and we should feel disappointed with our effort. We pretty much threw away any chance we had of competing for the league title, but here's to hoping we can regain some passion and finish the season strong. cheers.

Badger in Lexington
Badger in Lexington

Maybe if brusiwitz would have shut his mouth instead of run it to Rodney Williams on the inbounds w 20 seconds he wouldn't have ended up being a HUGE CHUMP and turning the ball over and allowing the gophs to tie the game. Nice one ginger! Inexcusable mistake, hope that one stings n next time he'll keep his mouth shut and focus on the game!
This team will never make a deep run as long as Evan plays more than dekkar, there's no reason for such a horrible offensive player to take the most shots on the team! Please someone, anyone name me a team that wins consistently having their WORST free throw shooter shooting most of the teams shots... get it together NO n let the young guys play, your seniors are the worst group you've had in years!!!!

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