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Badgers Basketball

Wisconsin Badgers feel heartbreak again, lose to Gators on OT buzzer beater

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Heartbreak. It always ends in heartbreak…at least for the Wisconsin Badgers.

Whether it has been in the Final Four, the national championship game or the Elite 8, the ending has never been fun for UW basketball.

Add the Sweet 16 to that list of heartbreak for the Badgers, as they were downed 84-83 in overtime by the Florida Gators.

Even after UW came back from down 12 points, tying it up on Zak Showalter’s incredible one-footed three-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining…it still ended in heartbreak for the Badgers.

However, Showalter’s late-game heroics were just the appetizer. That’s because Florida guardΒ Chris Chiozza decided to go all buzzer beater for an 84-83 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in overtime.

The Badgers appeared to just find enough to get the job done prior to that incredible shot. Senior Nigel Hayes knocked down a pair of free throws with four seconds left in the overtime period to put the Badgers up 83-81.

They were especially clutch considering Hayes, who finished with a team-high 22 points, was just 7 of 14 from the free throw line. However, UW would come to regret missing five free throws in overtime alone.

Wisconsin was just 20 of 30 from the charity stripe in the game, but made up for it by shooting a ridiculous 50.9 percent from the field and holding Florida to 45.2 percent from the field.

KeVaughn Allen propelled the Gators for much of this game, pouring in a NCAA tournament school record 35 points. He was the only Florida player in double figures on the night, and they needed every single point from Allen possible.

In fact, they could’ve used some more in regulation, as Allen’s hot shooting went cold late and nearly cost his team the game. Allen was bailed out thanks to a roster that was deep, with eight players scoring in total for the Gators.

Hayes had much more in the way of scoring help, as sophomore forward Ethan Happ had a quiet 21 points, six rebounds and four assists on the night. All five Badgers starters would finish in double digits, as Showalter (14), Koenig (13) and Brown (10) nearly were enough to get UW over the finish line.

Wisconsin owned much of the first 10 minutes of the game. It all came to a crashing halt though, and not coincidentally it was all about what was happening with Hayes.

The senior forward was on fire for most of the first half, putting up nine of his 22 points in the first stanza of the game. However, he picked up a second foul with 4:25 to play and with the Badgers leading 27-20.

Florida took advantage of Hayes being on the bench, going on a 14-5 run to end the half up 34-32. The Gators were aided by some big time mental mistakes by the Badgers as well.

UW had nine turnovers in the first half and twice needlessly fouled three-point shooters with the clock running out. Florida buried all six of those free throws and what was two-point Badgers advantage at 30-28 with 1:18 to play in the half became a two-point deficit instead.

Koenig was completely held in check in the first half, taking just three shots and putting up three points. However, Brown picked up his fellow senior with all 10 of his points in the first half to lead all UW scorers.

The second half seemed like it was a slow slide down the losers poll for the Badgers. UW came out hungry to start the half and quickly tied the game up on a Showalter jumper on the opening possession. But, Florida responded by putting up a 5-0 run and control the flow of the game from there.

After Happ made it 39-37 to Florida with a three-point play, Florida ripped off a 6-0 run and opened up a 45-37 lead with 16:24 to play in the game.

The Gators, led by Allen’s crazy shooting eventually pulled away by 12 points at 68-56 with 5:24 to play. From that point forward, it was all Wisconsin’s seniors willing the Badgers back bit, by bit.

Said seniors led a Badgers comeback that featured a 16-4 run to end regulation, including Showalter’s crazy shot to send the game in to overtime.

The rest they say is history, which is a good way to talk about this senior class. Brown, Hayes, Koenig and Showalter were part of 115 wins in the last four years, which is tied for the best four-year mark in school history.

It’s just the tip of the iceberg for this class’ long list of accomplishments, but it is also a season that ended the same way the last four did β€” finding heartbreaking ways to exit the NCAA tournament.

We’ll have to wait until November for more Badgers basketball, and it may take that long for the players and fans to get over this crazy loss.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Best Served Cold

    March 25, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Anyone have an image of the basket interference?

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Badgers Basketball

Badgers basketball lands pair of 4-star players in 2021 class

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Witnessing a win over the Northwestern Wildcats must have done the trick, because two of Wisconsin’s biggest targets in the 2021 class both committed on Sunday.

First to commit was the more surprising name, as Top247 point guard Chucky Hepburn.

The No. 23 ranked point guard and No. 141 ranked player in the country per the 247Sports composite rankings chose the Badgers over offers from Minnesota, Nebraska, and Creighton. He also was beginning to see interest from some of the bigger names in college basketball, but chose to pick a team that had been on him for awhile.

“I called coach Gard 30 minutes ago and committed,” Hepburn told Badger247. “The education part was really great. I loved all the academic advisors are part of the basketball program and how they work with them.

“With the basketball side, I fit perfectly with the system they run. I feel like the assistant coaches will help me get where I want to be, because they all played professionally before.”

But, not long after that news broke, word of the biggest target on UW’s list committing would break as well.

Wisconsin would add 4-star forward Matthew Mors to the mix as well.

Mors comes to the Badgers ranked as the No. 115 player in the country and the No. 22 power forward in the nation as well.

The Badgers had been on Mors since his eighth grade year and the persistence paid off, despite other offers across the Big Ten and Big 12 coming to him.

Mors chose Wisconsin over names like Creighton, Iowa State, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, TCU, and more.

With these two pledges, the Badgers have solidified their 2021 recruiting class rather early and they hit on all their top priority prospects as well.

Hepburn and Mors join fellow 4-star player in 6-8 power forward Chris Hodges. With three 4-star players to their name, the Badgers currently own the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.

Yes, Wisconsin isn’t likely to own that No. 1 ranking by the end of the class, but there’s no doubt that the Badgers have done something special in the 2021 class.

It is a huge statement for head coach Greg Gard after the program missed out on some massive in-state names in the past few classes. Many had begun to wonder if the Badgers could ever hit on big targets with Gard as the head coach.

Those thoughts should be put to rest with this class and how the Badgers closed out the 2020 class prior to this.

It should also be noted that assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft was the lead recruiter on each of the last four overall commitments for the Badgers, including 2020 names Steven Crowl and Ben Carlson.

Of course, we won’t know for a while how these big recruiting numbers stack up once they get on the floor for some time. But, winning on the recruiting trail like this puts the Badgers in a much better spot to be competitive for a very long time than previously thought.

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Badgers Basketball

Carlson commits to Badgers 2020 basketball class

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It appears the 2020 Wisconsin Badgers basketball class has come to a close.

A day after forward Steven Crowl committed, we now have word that top target Ben Carlson, a fellow Minnesota native, has committed to the Badgers as well.

The four-star center chose the Badgers over a who’s who of basketball offers in the Midwest including Ohio State, Xavier, Stanford, Purdue, Creighton, Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa State, Kansas State, Wake Forest, and others.

Much like Crowl, Carlson took his official visit to Madison earlier this month for the Central Michigan football game.

Carlson comes to the Badgers as the No. 15 ranked forward in the entire country per the 247Sports composite rankings, the No. 82 ranked player overall and with a .967 grade from the composite.

He was high up the Badgers list for a long time, even as they targeted other highly rate options at forward like Jalen Johnson. However, as the board began to shake out, it was clear the Badgers wanted Carlson no matter what Johnson or anyone else was going to do in this class.

It appears that the relationship that Carlson formed with the current roster while on his visit is what put the Badgers over the top in this lengthly recruitment.

“A big focus was on getting to know the players, so I hung out with them a lot,” Carlson told Badger247. “They talked about how the coaching staff tells you straight-up how everything is going to be, they don’t sugarcoat anything. They told me about how much they liked it there.”

“I had a pretty good idea of how Wisconsin was going in,” he continued. “The biggest thing was getting to know the players and I really liked them. I know about the history and the campus, but getting to know the players was big for sure.”

Adding this type of nationally known name to an already big class is huge for the Badgers. In fact, UW has the No. 4 ranked class per the 247Sports composite team rankings.

It would be the highest the Badgers have ever finished in the rankings, with the 2006 class under Bo Ryan the next highest at No. 20 in the country.

Wisconsin is getting easily one of the most skilled big men in the class and an instant impact type of player. What has been a question mark up front could easily be a strength of this team quickly thanks to Carlson and Crowl’s commitments to the class.

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Badgers Basketball

Badgers add 4-star center to 2020 basketball class

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What could be a historic recruiting class for the Wisconsin Badgers got another boost on Tuesday as 4-star center Steven Crowl verbally committed to the Badgers.

He went on his official visit this past weekend and apparently it was all he needed to see.

Crowl has since cancelled trips to other contenders like Colorado, Iowa, and Northern Iowa. He also had an offer from the in-state Gophers and was thinking about a visit there.

However, his official visit for the Central Michigan football game weekend was all he needed to pull the trigger on a commitment to Gard and the Badgers.

Crowl joins an already loaded Badgers 2020 class that includes in-state star Johnny Davis and his twin brother Jordan Davis, as well as the No. 25 ranked point guard in the country according to the 247Sports composite rankings, Lorne Bowman.

This class also already has preferred walk-on Carter Gilmore, who chose that offer over other mid-major D1 offers and saw his recruitment pick up considerably in the July evaluation period.

While his name wasn’t a hot one on the recruiting trail, he was a late riser and currently sits as the No. 102 ranked player in the class overall and the No. 17 center in the nation per the 247Sports composite rankings.

The St. Paul, Minn. native is also continuing the pipeline of players coming from the cross-border rival Gopher state. He comes from the same AAU program β€” Minnesota D1 β€” that produced both Tyler Wahl and Nate Reuvers.

With Crowl in the fold, Wisconsin has added 12 players from the state of Minnesota in the 247Sports composite era, according to Badger247.

When you take a look at Crowl’s film, what you see is someone that has begun to both physically and mentally mature. He’s got the skill set that UW likes out of their bigs as well, with a nice looking shot from the outside.

However, what you also see on tape is someone that may need to take a year to adjust to the college game and that may be perfectly fine with the coaching staff as they still will have Nate Reuvers and Tyler Wahl to work with up front as starters.

It will be interesting to see how Crowl digests the speed of the college game early on. If he can adjust to that and the physicality, he may indeed find himself in the rotation quickly though.

He is certainly in the mold of what has become the classic Wisconsin big man.

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Badgers Basketball

Former Badger Jon Leur traded to Milwaukee Bucks

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They say you can always go home, and for one former Wisconsin Badger he’s coming back to a state he called home for four years.

Former Badgers forward Jon Leuer was traded early on Thursday morning from the Detroit Pistons to the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange for Leuer, the Bucks gave up the 30th overall pick in tonight’s NBA Draft and traded away Tony Snell.

Last season, Leuer played in 41 games for the Pistons and made just one start. He averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his ninth season in the NBA.

Leuer is a very similar player to Snell, but comes at a much more team-friendly salary.

In trading away Snell, the Bucks free up an additional $4 million in salary this year and another $12 million next year.

This could be seen as a way for the Bucks to pony up the big money that Khris Middleton wants from the team in order to stay in Milwaukee.

As for Leuer, he is 17th on the all-time Badgers scoring list with 1,376 points to his name. He also finished his career with 551 rebounds.

Leuer’s final season in Madison was his best statistically, as he helped lead the 2010-11 Badgers team to the Sweet 16. He averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game that year.

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