The absence of senior forward Tyler Wahl hurt No. 14 Wisconsin on Saturday.
Wahl is the team’s leading scorer at 13.2 points, but not that, only that he’s one of Wisconsin’s best defenders and he would have made a difference stopping Illinois’ torrid three-point shooting.
Illinois shot an efficient 10-of-19 from three. Illinois junior forward Coleman Hawkins who came into the game shooting at 27% from three, made a career-high six threes to go along with his 20 points.
Senior point guard Terrence Shannon Jr. who transferred from Texas Tech this offseason scored a game-high 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
Wisconsin meanwhile struggled shooting the basketball from three a pitiful 8-of-29 (27.6%).
This team has talked about the importance of, “touching the post.” When Wisconsin gets away from getting the ball inside and having to rely on shooting threes, this team is less formidable offensively.
The positive for the game is the continued growth of forward Steven Crowl. Crowl was held to two points in the first half and scored 18 of 20 in the second half.
Point guard Chucky Hepburn dropped in 22 points on 8 of 18 shooting. Illinois has longer guards Shannon Jr. and Sencire Harris who; forced Hepburn to take a lot of tough shots and were physical with him throughout the game.
Junior forward Carter Gilmore made his first start today and contributed four points, seven rebounds, and one assist in 30 minutes of action.
Head coach Greg Gard indicated that Illinois did a good job of taking advantage of Wisconsin’s defensive breakdowns.
“The game was decided by what we didn’t do and didn’t get done consistently enough.”
“I thought defensively we got loose got disjointed, and Illinois took advantage of it.”
Gard also said that he knew Tyler Wahl wasn’t going to play a day after the Minnesota game but disclosed that he is improving from his ankle injury.
The Badgers are back at the Kohl Center on Tuesday night as they take on the Michigan State Spartans. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.