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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. Best Served Cold

    March 25, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Anyone have an image of the basket interference?

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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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Badgers Basketball

Badgers basketball land Davis twins

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After missing out on the Hauser brothers late last month, the Wisconsin Badgers added a different pair of siblings on Saturday night.

Following an offer to the brother of 4-star shooting guard Johnny Davis and an appearance at a team camp this weekend, the Davis brothers announced their pledge to the Badgers according to Badger247.

It took less than a week after head coach Greg Gard gave the O.K. to offer Jordan for the pair to commit to Wisconsin.

Johnny held offers from Marquette, West Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, DePaul, UNLV and others.

Jordan had offers from UW-Milwaukee and Green Bay, while also becoming a sought after recruit on the football field as well. Once he became serious about wanting to play basketball first, it seemed like a matter of time before Wisconsin offered.

That time came after seeing Jordan play in a camp last weekend.

It also came because it was time to figure out if Johnny was serious about the Badgers or not.

With the July evaluation period coming up, Wisconsin’s coaching staff put the final chips in the middle with this recruitment and it appeared to pay off.

Johnny joins as the No. 141 ranked player in the country and the No. 14 ranked combo guard in the nation according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

The twins will join Detroit, Mich. native Lorne Bowman in the 2020 class.

Wisconsin still has one scholarship available in the class as well, which is likely being held for 5-star and Wisconsin native Jalen Johnson.

After missing out on talented in-state players over and over again, this was a major win for Gard and his coaching staff considering how hard schools like West Virginia and Marquette were after Johnny’s commitment.

As for Jordan, it appears the coaching staff believes he is improving enough to get a scholarship and continue his improvement with this program.

Offers don’t come out just because it may win over a different recruit at Wisconsin. That wasn’t Bo Ryan’s style and it also isn’t Greg Gard’s style.

The trio of players put the Badgers at No. 8 in the country and No. 3 in the Big Ten in the 2020 class as of today.

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Badgers Basketball

Former Badgers get No. 2 seed in The Basketball Tournament Columbus regional

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Who doesn’t want $2 million? That’s the prize at stake for winning The Basketball Tournament and a group of former Wisconsin Badgers want in.

On Tuesday it was officially announced that the Kohl Blooded team β€” spearheaded by former Badgers point guard Kam Taylor β€” will be the No. 2 seed in the Columbus regional.

They will take on No. 7 seed Mid-American Unity, which is making its second appearance in the TBT after a year off. That group represents teams from across the Mid-American conference.

As for the Badgers, the roster will be made up of some very strong names from the past. The headline names include members of the back-to-back Final Four teams in Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown. Also joining will be Jordan Taylor, Ryan Evans, Trevon Hughes and recent grad Charles Thomas. You can see the full roster here.

The regionals will take place July 19-21 in Columbus with the winner of this regional meeting seven other winners in Chicago for championship week.

All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, so you should be able to find them either streaming or on cable television.

Kohl Blooded vs. Mid-American Unity will tip at 1pm ET on Friday, July 19.

The winner will take on the winner of Red Scare (Dayton alumni) and The Region (players from Northwest Indiana) in the regional semi-final the next day.

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Badgers Basketball

Badgers play final card in attempt to land 2020 G Johnny Davis

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A week after losing out on Joey and Sam Hauser, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program needs some positive momentum on the player acquisition front.

With three scholarships available in the 2020 class and two top in-state players in their sites, the Badgers coaching staff has been about as patient as possible.

On Wednesday, Badger247 reports that UW has offered Jordan Davis, the twin brother of top target Johnny Davis. It’s not a walk-on or grayshirt, but a full scholarship offer.

After two years of waiting for that offer to come, it finally did.

Jordan is an unranked player in basketball at this time, but I expect that to change once the scouting services catch wind of this offer. Johnny Davis is the No. 131 ranked player in the country, a 4-star rated prospect and the No. 3 ranked player in the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 class.

With the brothers set to make a weekend visit for team camp in two weeks, this is a move that undoubtably puts the pressure squarely on Johnny Davis at this point.

Simply put, the Badgers need to know if Davis is going to commit or if they need to move on.

Offering Jordan a full ride is about the only thing left in the Badgers quiver at this point. If getting the dream of playing basketball together at the same school and in-state no less doesn’t tip the scales, at least the Badgers know they can move on.

Is it a desperate move? In some ways one could see it as such. Clearly the Badgers want Johnny in a major way and they see offering Jordan as a critical move that could separate themselves from the competition.

However, this also isn’t a coaching staff willing to just throw away a scholarship in an effort to get a coveted player to play for them. That’s simply not Greg Gard’s style.

Jordan is also a player they see as a contributor, or he wasn’t getting an offer. Plain and simple.

There’s no doubt that this move ups the pressure, like I mentioned before. But, that’s not a bad thing, as UW needs to know where they stand heading in to July’s evaluation period.

If the Davis brothers can’t commit or at least internally give the coaching staff the information that will make them feel comfortable, they need to start getting offers out to other big time players whom they’ve been waiting to offer.

Consider UW is an underdog to land in-state five-star prospect Jalen Johnson, and you have to consider this move a smart one for the long term prospects of the 2020 class.

Will the Davis twins jump at the offer to play together at Wisconsin?

Some in the recruiting world believe this was the situation that was holding Wisconsin back all along. So, don’t be surprised to see this affect the recruitment of both players in a big way.

As for Jordan, his game has also caught the attention of Iowa and Minnesota and he did have scholarship offers from both Green Bay and Milwaukee prior to this one.

What may have really held the Badgers coaching staff and others back was the fact that Jordan is also a good player on the football side and wasn’t sure which sport he wanted to pick.

It seems like UW has gotten the clue that Jordan may be more receptive to a basketball future and pulled the trigger on the offer.

We’ll see how much longer the two stay uncommitted, but don’t be surprised to see something happen following July’s AAU season.

Letting that play out and getting all the offers out there on the table is just a smart move for the twins. From there, it’s up to them and clearly the Badgers have left no stone unturned in this situation.

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