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Sunday, February 25, 2024
Badger seniors come up empty in Indianapolis

Hughes: Senior guard Trevon Hughes shot 4-of-16 Friday, killing Wisconsin?s chances of advancing in the Big Ten Tournament.

Badger seniors come up empty in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS—4:51.

That was what the clock read in the second half when a member of Wisconsin's senior guard duo finally connected on a shot from the field. Up to that point Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes had gone 0-for-18 from the field and had combined for just four points.

And it was not like their teammates stepped in to fill the void.

The Badgers could not find the basket from near or far, suffering their worst shooting performance of the year in the midst of their Big Ten Tournament elimination loss to Illinois. It was not even a matter of the Illini making the attempts difficult, just a day where it seemed the Badgers were completely ice cold for the first 35 minutes. Wisconsin finished shooting a season-low 28.6 percent from the field.

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""We were getting some decent looks, and they just weren't falling,"" junior forward Jon Leuer said. ""But we had to work a little bit harder to finish inside. Obviously we missed some bunnies, but for the most part we were getting good shots, it was just a matter of us finishing.""

In the first half the Badgers hit a measly 18.2 percent of their shots and were only in the game on the strength of Leuer's scoring and offensive rebounding. The junior from Minnesota had four of Wisconsin's six baskets in the first 20 minutes, but turned in a 1-for-5 performance after that.

There were stretches where the Badgers were just missing chance after chance to climb back into the game. They strung together defensive stops only to miss an open layup or clang a jumper off the rim at the other end.

Empty Illini possessions seemed to bring a bit of momentum that moments later quietly dissipated with a Badger miss.

""They missed some shots, we played some good defense, and going back the other way we got some good looks but they just weren't falling either,"" Bohannon said. ""Anytime you're on the defensive end, get some stops you've got to make them pay on offense and we didn't do that tonight and it cost us.""

What cost them more was Bohannon and Hughes' shooting that was abysmal any way it's broken down. Shooting 0-for-13 in the first half, 5-for-26 for the game, the duo that accounted for well over one-third of the team's baskets throughout the year was severely lacking in start of the postseason.

Hughes, despite a late flurry that nearly brought Wisconsin back, had an especially difficult day, failing to finish any of the four lay-ins he attempted around the rim. After the game he laid the blame on a leg injury.

""I just couldn't get any lift. I couldn't jump and hit the layup. Hopefully I get healthy, it won't be a factor,"" He said.

For the game Wisconsin players missed 10 layups with seven coming from the team's three starting guards and offensive creators.

After the game UW head coach Bo Ryan said that the only way to overcome a shooting game that poor would be dominating the turnover battle and getting to the free throw line. The Badgers came through on the turnovers, with a 17-5 advantage, and even hung in by crashing the offensive boards in the first half.

But at games end Wisconsin players had only visited the charity stripe 14 times and shot an uncharacteristically low 57 percent.

""We get a team to turn it over, what did they end up with, 17 turnovers? Come on. That's you put a team in that position where there's a difference of 12, you've got to be on the other side with that one,"" Ryan said.

""And then when you're not, you lick your wounds and go to next.""

With the NCAA tournament looming in the coming week, the next bad shooting night could easily mean the end of the Badgers' season.

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