HOFFMAN ESTATES, Illinois – After playing a strong first half, the BYU men’s basketball team struggled in the second period and fell 73-56 to the No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers in the Chicago Invitational Challenge Championship on Saturday night.
"There were critical times where we needed to score and we didn’t," head coach Dave Rose said. "We needed to get a stop and we didn’t and it turned into the game what it was. We need to be a lot more consistent with our play through the game to beat a team like that."
Senior Noah Hartsock scored 18 points and added six rebounds and four blocks, both team highs. No other Cougar scored in double digits, but Brandon Davies and Damarcus Harrison contributed nine points apiece while Charles Abouo and Stephen Rogers managed six apiece.
Hartsock and Abouo were named to the All-Tournament Team. Hartsock averaged 17.3 points and five boards while Abouo added 15 points and 8.8 boards throughout the Chicago Invitational Challenge.
BYU struggled from beyond the arc and hit just 1 of 10 treys. Wisconsin countered the Cougars’ struggles by nailing 13 of 24 from three, a 54.2 percent rate. BYU did manage to force the Badgers into a season high 12 turnovers.
“I think that what we did expect was them to shoot the ball well since that is what they have done well," Rose said. "They are an extremely patient team and have five shooters on the floor at all times. This season for us, we haven’t faced that yet.”
Wisconsin jumped out to a quick 9-4 lead behind two Jordan Taylor threes. The Badgers expanded the lead to 17-8 by hitting their first six shots, including five treys. Although they trailed by nine, the Cougars started strong by hitting four of their first five shots.
BYU fell behind 22-10 before beginning a comeback. Davies helped spark a Cougar run with a steal and fast break dunk. Harrison provided energy off the bench with five straight points, including a fast break three, to tie the game at 24-24.
The Cougars took their first lead since they led 2-0 at the 5:11 mark after Stephen Rogers nailed a jump shot to put BYU up 28-26. Hartsock led the 18-4 BYU run with his eight first half points. Wisconsin ended the half on a short 8-4 run to take a 34-32 lead into the locker room.
Wisconsin took a 42-38 lead quickly out of the half before the Cougars tied the game at 42-42 by forcing Badger turnover and taking it for a layup. The Badgers responded to the tie with an 11-0 run, which swung the momentum to Wisconsin and made the score 53-42.
The Badgers continued to pull away from BYU, largely due to the second half play of Taylor and Ben Brust. Taylor finished with 18 points while Brust nailed 7 of 10 threes, including five in the second half, to finish with a game-high 21 points.
BYU worked to finish the game strong but finished with just 24 points in the second half. Hartsock led the Cougars with 10 second half points.
The Cougars will continue their season when they play Northern Arizona in Prescott Valley, Ariz., on Nov. 30. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and the game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM.
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