The past two times Northwestern played at the Kohl Center, the Wildcats ground out low-scoring wins.
Saturday, the Wildcats were on the other end of that.
The Badgers (14-6, 6-3 Big Ten) out-executed Wildcats (12-8, 3-6) throughout the day, holding NU to a frigid 29.6 percent shooting to earn a 62-46 win that wasn’t even that close.
No Northwestern players scored in double figures, and had nearly twice as many turnovers (13) as assists (7).
Northwestern came out flat offensively to start the first half, but got into some semblance of a groove as the half went on. Aaron Falzon, fresh off a career-high 21 points, hit two threes, and Ryan Greer was aggressive in driving to the rim en route to setting a career-high of his own with 6 points in half one. Six Wildcats scored 6 or more points, but Dererk Pardon and Anthony Gaines had tied for the most with just 8. Greer was the only Wildcat to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor (at 2-of-3 shooting).
Despite the game being close midway through the first half, the Badgers got into a rhythm, and closed the first half on a 14-2 run. Wisconsin hit six threes in the first half, five of which came from Brad Davison and D’Mitrik Trice. Ethan Happ put on a clinic offensively, routinely absorbing double-teams and dishing out to open shooters on the wing, which put NU in a bind. Give Happ a single defender, and he’d punish him. Send a double-team, and Happ would find an open three-point shooter.
Happ finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, marking the third triple-double in Wisconsin history (and his second this season). Davison and Trice both had 18 points in the game.
In the second half, the Northwestern offense couldn’t muster much offense, and the Badger lead grew. There were points at which it looked like Northwestern could make a run, but Wisconsin’s deliberate, turnover-averse style makes it difficult to sustain a comeback run.
Northwestern entered the game searching for a quality road win, and didn’t get it Saturday. The Wildcats will have another shot Tuesday when they head to College Park to face Maryland (which just fell to Illinois).