Collapse in second half, Badgers lose to UNT, 56-54, in semis at NIT
The Wisconsin Badgers’ men’s basketball team lost to North Texas, 56-54, in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament on Tuesday. It was a tale of two halves for the Badgers, ultimately dropping the contest in brutal fashion.
To set the scene, Wisconsin took a 41-29 lead into halftime. Fueled by a fantastic first half for Chucky Hepburn, who went 5-for-8 from deep, the Badgers were able to take the lead and hold it all the way until the break.
It was after half, where things took a devastating turn for Greg Gard’s squad. North Texas ramped up its defensive effort after break, something that can certainly be credited to head coach Grant McCasland. Rubin Jones in particular supplied an added boost on the offensive end, scoring all 12 of his points in the second half.
With the Mean Green surging, the Badgers couldn’t afford to let their foot off the gas, but they ended the game without scoring a single point in the final 9:07.
Tyler Wahl (12 points) missed two free throws with less than a minute left, keeping the Badgers down, 56-54, and then later, Wisconsin failed to even get a shot off on their final possession, allowing the final 5.8 seconds to run out.
In crushing fashion, the Badgers fell one game short of the NIT championship, bringing their season to an end and potentially the career of forward Tyler Wahl.
With incoming freshmen 6-foot-8 forward Gus Yalden and 6-foot-10 forward Nolan Winter set to join the team next season, coach Gard will get some much needed reinforcements down low, regardless of Wahl’s status. Additionally, they’ll also get 6-foot-3 guard John Blackwell as a part of the class of 2023.