Wisconsin is looking to do something it has not done since early January when it hosts Rutgers on Saturday in Madison, Wis.
Win two games in a row.
Wisconsin (15-10, 7-8 Big Ten), which is coming off a 64-59 victory over Michigan on Tuesday, last won consecutive games on Jan. 3 when it completed a six-game winning streak with a victory over Minnesota. The Badgers have since won just four of their last 12 games.
Rutgers (16-10, 8-7) endured a rare stumble at home on Tuesday in an 82-72 setback to Nebraska. It was the Scarlet Knights’ third consecutive loss since Mawot Mag sustained a season-ending torn ACL. Rutgers, now 14-3 at home, is 2-6 in road games.
The Badgers squandered a 17-point second-half lead in a 73-63 overtime loss at Nebraska last Saturday. They clamped down defensively and held off Michigan despite missing their last 15 shots and going without a field goal over the final 10:45 of the game.
Wisconsin, made 14 of 18 free throws against the Wolverines, including 12 of 14 in the second half. Freshman Connor Essegian was 9 of 10 from the line en route to a career-high 23 points.
“I thought it was a great bounce-back for us, a great bounce-back win,” said Steven Crowl, who had 11 points and a team-high 12 boards against Michigan. “We can’t be satisfied. As we saw the other week, we beat Penn State, then went to Nebraska and lost. So, we can’t be satisfied with the win tonight. We’ve got to come back on Saturday get another win.”
Chucky Hepburn averages 12.7 points to lead a balanced offense. Essegian and Crowl contribute 11.8 points and Tyler Wahl 11.5. Crowl is the leading rebounder at 7.2 per game.
Wisconsin has played 15 games decided by five points or fewer, going 10-5.
Nebraska was the first team to shoot better than 50 percent this season against Rutgers, which allows 60.0 points per game.
“Wisconsin, as you know, is one of the toughest places to play in the league,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “We got to play better defense. These guys have done it before. I have a lot of belief in these guys, and I have faith we’ll prepare well. We’ll go to Wisconsin and play on the road.”
Clifford Omoruyi boasts team-leading averages of 13.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for the Scarlet Knights. Cam Spencer adds 12.3 points and Aundre Hyatt 10.0.
–Field Level Media