In three consecutive losses No. 9 Wisconsin allowed opponents to shoot better than 51% from the field, with their inability to keep guards out of the lane a big reason why they struggled defensively against Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota. So entering their game at Purdue, it was clear what Bo Ryan’s team needed to do if they were to end their three-game losing streak.
Wisconsin did a better job of this against the Boilermakers, limiting them to 35% shooting and forcing multiple challenged looks in their 72-58 victory. Purdue made 41.7% of its’ two-point attempts and shot 3-for-17 from beyond the arc, with that performance being quite the departure from what Wisconsin’s three prior opponents were able to do.
Offensively Wisconsin shot just 41% from the field, but given the way in which the Badgers execute on that end of the floor that isn’t a major concern looking forward. All five starters scored in double figures with Frank Kaminsky’s 16 leading the way.
The concern for Wisconsin, which entered the game ranked tenth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense, was whether or not they had the ability to keep opposing players in front of them and out of the lane. Purdue may not be the best litmus test within the Big Ten, but this is a game and a defensive effort the Badgers had to have.
With their next two games, Northwestern and No. 17 Ohio State, in Madison the Badgers may be well-positioned to go on a run and get back into the Big Ten race. Whether or not they defend will determine their fate.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.