EVANSTON, Ill. — This one was just plain ugly.
Northwestern (6-14, 3-13 B1G) was disoriented offensively all night long and fell to No. 21 Wisconsin (16-8, 10-7 B1G), losing a record 13th straight game in the Chris Collins era by a score of 68-51.
Boo Buie built on his strong performance against Illinois by chipping in a game-leading 21 points on 8-15 shooting. Robbie Beran followed up with seven points of his own. No other Wildcat finished with more than five points.
Buie started out hot in his return to the starting lineup, scoring the ‘Cats first seven points before Robbie Beran drilled a three pointer of his own, giving the ‘Cats a 10-5 lead at the first media timeout. After the first break, Wisconsin stormed back with a 5-0 run and the two teams continued to trade buckets until Ty Berry hit a triple, regaining an 18-15 Northwestern lead with just over eight minutes left in the half.
From there, Northwestern suffered yet another extended cold stretch offensively, a recurring theme this season. The ‘Cats mustered just six points in the final eight minutes of the first half. The cold streak also featured six (!) NU turnovers and a 33% field goal percentage.
The Wildcats’ final possession of the first half came with roughly one second left in the half as NU attempted something resemblant of “The Pass,” but instead Chase Audige just missed the tough off-balance jumper after successfully catching the full-court heave. Heading into the locker room, the ‘Cats trailed the Badgers 34-24. Buie led the ‘Cats with 11 points at the break. No other Wildcat came close to double digits in the first 20 minutes.
After halftime, Northwestern’s offense continued to sputter, with Miller Kopp and Chase Audige each turning the ball over in the opening four minutes of the half. Northwestern’s defense remained strong, though, and the ‘Cats trailed by just nine points with just under 16 minutes left in the game.
In the next frame, Northwestern failed to capitalize on the team’s best chance to force a competitive game. The ‘Cats forced a Badger turnover while down only seven points, but Berry failed to hit a jumper and Wisconsin quickly responded with a three pointer. Instead of trailing by two possessions, Northwestern once again fell behind by double digits at the under-12 media break.
The Wildcats offensive woes to continued to build in the following minutes as they embarked on yet another scoring drought. This one ultimately lasted around five minutes and resulted in the Badgers scoring 10 unanswered points, securing UW’s largest lead of the game up to that point and leading 56-39 with just over seven minutes left to play.
Buie hit a corner three with 5:14 to play to cut UW’s lead to 13 points, but the Badgers immediately responded with two buckets to stretch the lead back to 65-48 at the final media timeout and all but cement Northwestern’s 13th consecutive loss.
Wisconsin’s Micah Potter led all Badger scorers with 19 points. The Badgers were also paced with 13 points from guard D’Mitrik Trice.
Northwestern’s next attempt to snap its losing streak will occur on Thursday night when the Wildcats travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers at 8:00 pm CT.