Badgers HoopCap: Creighton Gets Hot At Right Time
HoopsCap are your college basketball recap blog posts used for both Wisconsin and Marquette. For those curious how it will work in non-conference is I’ll try to recap all of the big non-conference games for both Marquette and Wisconsin. Once conference play starts it’s all things a-go.
Wisconsin knew they would be in for a tough battle heading to Omaha to take on 22nd ranked Creighton for the Gavitt Games. it’s becoming almost cliche with every big game in the month of November for college basketball, but this didn’t feel like the second game of the year for both teams. In a back-and-forth game, it felt like one team needed to get on a run to pull away from the other. That team happened to be Creighton who went 13-2 run midway through the second. They never looked back resulting in a 77-69.
Turnovers were an issue
One of the things Wisconsin has been known for really since Dick Bennett is they do not turn the ball over. Creighton forced them to turn it over 16 times which is very high for Badgers. This isn’t a cause for concern for Wisconsin. It’s early in the season, and it could be some early season things that the team is still working through. It’s hard to win when three starters have four turnovers.
Ethan Happ was a ghost
While the turnovers were surprising, Ethan Happ being nonexistent to the offense might have been more a stunner. Badgers sophomore had only five shot attempts and never really became part of the offense. Does this have to do with Bronson Koenig taking more shots and not feeding the post? Or the Creighton defense? I’ll lean towards the second one. Not sure you’ll see Happ have nights like this much all year, but expect teams to look at the Creighton tape for tips on stopping him.
Lack of free points hurt the team
One of the things as a Badger hoops outsider that would drive me nuts as a fan is Wisconsin doesn’t get to the free throw line enough. This was a problem for them early last season then in Big Ten play, they were attacking the lane. Much of that was led by Nigel Hayes. Wisconsin cannot wait until 5:21 left in the game to get to the free throw line. That’s not going to win them many games. They need to be in attack mode as a collective unit.
Nigel Hayes needed to be more of a second half factor
The Badgers senior did what I like to call the Marcus Landry. The former Badgers forward was famous for a big first or second half and being a complete non-factor in the other one. That’s what happened with Hayes in the second half. He made two baskets shooting only four and didn’t do enough to get himself involved. Hayes is a decent three-point shooter, but there’s no reason he should be taking nine threes in a game. That’s not his game.
Players of the Game:
Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin) Khyri Thomas (Creighton) – Koenig had the best game of the day with 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting. He did take an astounding 13 threes and only make three of them, but still, Koenig drove the offense and kept them in this game. It’s scary that Creighton has two players like Maurice Watson Jr. and Thomas who can fill up the basket. Roberts had a great game with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting making all of this threes in the game. Roberts found the stroke and Wisconsin had no answer for him..
Next Up: Wisconsin heads home for a tune-up against Chicago State on Thursday night which should be smooth sailing. The Maui Invitational awaits Wisconsin next Monday.