Wisconsin Basketball: Takeaways from opening loss to Saint Mary’s

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SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 22: King of the Badgers dribbles. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Wisconsin basketball hung around with Saint Mary’s for all 45 minutes in South Dakota but was unable to come away victorious. What did we see?

Wisconsin basketball nearly came away with a major resume-building victory on the first day of the 2019-20 season. The Badgers entered their season-opener as minor underdogs against nationally-ranked Saint Mary’s for a neutral-site battle in South Dakota and narrowly suffered a tough loss. It was clear throughout the entire contest, though, the Badgers were definitely in the same league as the Gaels. Despite falling behind by as many as 10 points in the second half, head coach Greg Gard’s team showed a ton of resolve by slowly fighting back to force overtime.

Momentum definitely seemed to be on Wisconsin’s side heading into the extra period and that resulted in a three-point advantage heading into the final minute of OT. Yet, a couple of defensive mistakes leading to a personal 4-0 run from SMC’s Malik Fitts turned out to be the Badgers’ undoing as they were unable to score over the final two minutes. On the whole, it was a relatively strong performance by Wisconsin but it was also a game that the team let slip away in overtime.

Throughout the entire game, the Badgers had a tough time containing superstar guard Jordan Ford. Saint Mary’s star filled it up at all three levels en route to posting 26 total points on the night. Additionally, the Gaels managed to dominate on the glass with a +6 offensive rebounding advantage despite the fact that both Matthias Tass and Dan Fotu fouled out. Tanner Krebs also picked up four fouls in the game.

For Wisconsin, Nate Reuvers was the clear offensive star. The junior big man showcased his versatility on both ends of the floor while putting together an exceptionally strong game. Brad Davison also supplied a solid scoring performance in the second half. Now that the contest is complete, though, let’s take a deeper dive into Wisconsin basketball’s performance with some key takeaways from the loss.

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