Men’s basketball: Hayes’ 32 points not enough as Panthers down Badgers

first_imgNigel Hayes finally looked like an All-American.Unfortunately for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team, they needed him to be a superhero Wednesday night.While the junior forward looked absolutely unstoppable at times, Hayes’s 32 points were simply not enough to avoid the upset, as the Badgers were unable to hold off UW-Milwaukee, losing 68-67 after a Bronson Koenig three-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.It was a tale of two halves, as the Badgers came out active and aggressive in the first period, starting the game on a 12-3 run as a product of good outside and determined offensive rebounding.And while the Badgers were unable to really extend their lead, they didn’t let the Panthers crawl back into the game, as they never held a lead under nine points after that moment in the first 20 minutes. At the end of the half, Wisconsin had a comfortable 40-29 lead.A big part of that was Wisconsin’s work on the defensive end, as they allowed UWM to shoot just 29.6 percent from the field and limited their second-chance opportunities. The Badgers ended the half winning the rebound margin 25-13.The second half was a different story, as it was UWM that came out hot, opening the half on a quick 7-0 run. The Badgers lacked the urgency and aggressive play they had to start the first half.“We said that in the locker room at halftime, that the first four minutes of the second half would determine the rest of the game,” Hayes said. “We didn’t come out with a big enough sense of urgency.”But it didn’t take long for Wisconsin to counter, as a Hayes layup and an Ethan Happ dunk brought Wisconsin’s league back to eight and set off what would be a 9-2 run for UW.That dunk gave Happ his fourth double-double of the season with 15:45 still left to play in the game — he finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds — and the Badgers appeared to have regained control of the game after a 9-2 run.But the Panthers would storm back again. This time, even stronger than before, as an 8-0 run brought UWM to within two with around nine minutes remaining, and the Badgers were hanging on for dear life, a situation Hayes said the team was in because they failed to execute a scouting report.“We did not do our job well enough for our coaches who work extremely hard to give us the recipes for wins,” Hayes said. “When you don’t execute, this is what happens.”What happened was with just over three minutes remaining, the Panthers had tied the game, and just a minute later, they had taken the lead, a lead they would hold on to until the final buzzer sounded.UWM road on the coattails of starting point guard Jordan Johnson, who scored a team-high 22 points and dished out four assists in 39 minutes.“[Johnson] was fabulous tonight,” UWM head coach Rob Jeter said. “He really attacked the rim and aligned the giants and really made some plays for us.”Forward and leading scorer Matt Tiby also performed admirably, recording a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds in 33 minutes.But despite Milwaukee’s efforts, the Badgers still had one more chance, as they were only down one point following a Koenig triple. On the ensuing inbounds play, UWM was called for a travel after J.J. Panoske mishandled the inbounds pass.Wisconsin was unable to take advantage, as Koenig, who finished with 16 points on a poor 5-of-16 shooting from the field, could not be the hero for a second time in a row, and UWM pulled off the unthinkable.“We were in the double bonus,” Koenig said. “I probably should have drove and got some contact and got to the line.”The Badgers have a quick turnaround, as another in-state rival in Marquette comes to the Kohl Center Saturday with tip-off set for 12:30 p.m.last_img read more