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No. 11 Wisconsin aims to rediscover shooting touch vs. PSU

The 11th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers hope the home-court rims will be more shooter-friendly when they host Penn State in a Big Ten matchup on Saturday.

Wisconsin (17-4, 8-3 Big Ten) hit just 3 of 24 attempts from 3-point range in an 80-67 loss at No. 18 Illinois during a battle of conference leaders on Wednesday. The defeat dropped the Badgers into a third-place tie with Purdue, a half-game behind Michigan State.

"We've got to knock down some shots," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "A fair amount. I mean, it doesn't have to be astronomical, but you can't be 3-for-24."

Penn State (9-9, 4-6) snapped a three-game skid with a wild, 90-86 double-overtime victory at home over Iowa on Monday. The Hawkeyes tied it on a tip-in at the buzzer in regulation, and the Nittany Lions' leveled the score in the final seconds of the first OT with a 3-pointer.

Wisconsin has won 20 straight at home against Penn State.

Against Illinois, the Badgers also had no answer on the defensive end for Kofi Cockburn, who dominated inside with 37 points and 12 rebounds, making 16 of 19 shots.

"I think you just move on to the next game," Gard said. "You can't dwell on what didn't go well. We have to get ready for a Penn State team that's playing pretty well right now on Saturday."

Wisconsin's leading scorer, Johnny Davis, had 22 points and 15 rebounds against the Illini, but he made just 5 of 19 shots. He did get to the line, however, making 11 of 14. Davis averages 21.4 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Fifth-year senior Brad Davison, who averages 15.2 points and recently became the Badgers' career leader in 3-pointers made, shot 3 of 12 against Illinois, missing all six long-range attempts.

Tyler Wahl averages 11.0 points and 5.8 boards. Steven Crowl, a 7-foot sophomore, averages 9.0 points and 4.3 rebounds, but he had no chance inside against Cockburn. Freshman point guard Chucky Hepburn has started since Day 1 and has been solid defensively, as he has committed just 28 turnovers while averaging 29.7 minutes per game.

Since winning seven straight, Wisconsin has lost two of its past four, including an 86-74 home defeat to Michigan State while Wahl was out with an ankle injury.

Penn State had five players score in double figures against Iowa, indicative of its balanced attack. The Nittany Lions were playing at home for the first time since Jan. 11 following three road games.

Penn State's Seth Lundy averages 13.4 points, Jalen Pickett 13.3, Sam Sessoms 11.2 and John Harrar 10.8 (along with a team-high 9.6 rebounds).

The Nittany Lions put up 66.4 points per game and allow 66.6. Other than the Iowa game, Penn State has yielded 80 only two other times. Wisconsin averages 72.1 and gives up 67.1.

Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry emphasized that his team held the Hawkeyes to 64 points until Keegan Murray's sensational tip-in at the buzzer in regulation.

"We really guarded for a game where you look and you give up 86," he said. "We guarded for stretches and made it tough on them. It's a really good offensive team. If we can continue to do that, we give ourselves a chance. And that's who we want to (do). That's who we want to be each and every night. And, then, kind of opportunistic offense."

The Badgers lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game, at 8.3.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 3, 2022

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