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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Badgers lose border battle against Fighting Illini

Wisconsin forward Tyler Wahl’s 20 points and Chucky Hepburn’s lockdown defense was not enough as the Badgers fell to Illinois.

The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team fell short against the No. 13 Illinois Fighting Illini 83-91 Saturday at the Kohl Center after the Badgers allowed Illinois’ Marcus Domask to score 31 points.

Wisconsin lost six of their eight games in February, including their most recent matchup against Indiana. The Badgers in the same time period dropped all the way from the top spot of the Big Ten standings to the fourth spot,  tied with Nebraska.

Before the game tipped off, former Badgers player and assistant Howard Moore received a standing ovation from all fans in the Kohl Center — Wisconsin and Illinois fans alike — in his first public appearance since his wife, Jennifer, and his nine-year old daughter, Jaidyn, died in a tragic car accident. Moore and his son Jerell were the only survivors, and Moore sustained severe injuries from the accident.

Wisconsin also announced at halftime that Moore will be recognized when they construct their new men’s basketball offices at the Kohl Center. The offices will be called the “Howard Moore Family Men’s Basketball Offices.”

The Badgers started the first half with an early nine-point lead five minutes into the game. However, Wisconsin could not contain Domask and Terrence Shannon Jr. on the defensive end as they combined for 27 points in the first half and made all six of the Fighting Illini’s 3-point baskets.

Throughout the game, the Badgers student section chanted “no means no” when Shannon got to the free-throw line in connection with allegations against Shannon of sexual assault. When Shannon entered the players tunnel after the game, he appeared to flip off a fan in the Wisconsin student section who appeared to shout at him.

Wahl and Hepburn kept the Badgers in the game as Hepburn finished with 15 points and three steals. Some of his steals led to fast-break opportunities that allowed Wisconsin to tie the score several times in the second half.

However, this proved futile as the Fighting Illini went up by as much as 11 points in the last two minutes of the game and walked to the finish line.

Wahl led all Badgers players with 20 points on 14 shots from the field, and Wisconsin guard Max Klesmit finished the game with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists.

The Badgers have now lost three of their last four games and have an overall record of 18-11 with a Big Ten record of 10-8. Their next matchup is Thursday against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Kohl Center.

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