FINAL, WISCONSIN, 72-55
The season is over. Now what?
7:33 left, WISKY, 61-49
Jake finally scores at 14:41, and that has to be a positive for K-State. Ron Anderson fouls Butch, who hits one of two foul shots. Nice acting by Bill, but it results in double technical fouls – don’t know if that’s the trade-off he was looking for. It’s an 11-point game and Stiemsma is called for traveling. It’s lit a fire into Bill, though. But it’s like the veteran Badgers are just amused, continuing to play their game. Oh, the conspiracy theories are flying in the K-State cheering section. Jake with a drive and he’s hacked. He misses the first shot. Fred Brown comes in to bust a zone, apparently. Hughes scores at the other end. Bill doesn’t want to lose – I’ll save Frank the time later. He slashes to the rim for a deuce. Flowers hits a pair of free throws. Walker again, hitting a pair of free throws. He’s clapping his hands, trying to get the Wildcats going. Hughes misses long, but so does Jake on the other end. Dreadful shooting game for the freshman point guard. Mike with only two points in second half. Hmmm… Stiemsma converts. Mike is getting frustrated, but he is fouled. He hits a pair. In the double bonus at 9:13… Landry at line and misses the first and the second. Walker is playing his behind off. Offensive rebound and follow. Stiemsma on a leak-out, finishes and fouled by Mike. Three-point play. Very bizarre – a curtain fell at 8:14 at mid-court. And then at 7:33, Walker hits the court after being elbowed to the face on a rebound.
15:01 left in regulation, WISKY, 49-35
Halftime gathering in the tunnel was a little more subdued this time – not as much input from Mr. Walker, but still an air of optimism. The Wildcats like where they’re at. And we’re off… Butch with an offensive rebound and put-back. Hughes with a drive past Blake, a finish and the foul. He hits, and it’s 44-33 just like that, less than two minutes into the second half. Timeout. Jake is struggling. Blake comes back in for him. Trevon drills a long jumper, and it’s a 13-point game. Jake back in for Blake. Jake with another miss but Beasley with the offensive board and follow. Man, they need something, anything from their guards. Same old story, no? K-State is 0-for-7 from three-point range. That’s not good.
HALFTIME, WISKY, 39-33
Wow. A little emotion from the coaches on the bench as Mike converts a lay-up and absorbs contact. He hits the free throw, and K-State is within 5. Interesting turn of events. Different energy suddenly in the Qwest. Nice take by Flowers. Nothing yet from Pullen, but Anderson goes reverse pivot and off glass. He’s playing with a ton of confidence. Frank rips into DK, but that’s nothing new. Anderson on the box out is fouled, and he’s shooting one-and-one. On cue, DK rips an offensive board and puts it back. Jake with a touch foul on pressure at mid-court, and that’s not what Frank wanted – but he applauds the effort. Hughes hits a 3. Walker has set for a stretch and we’re not sure why. Jake with nice penetration and a dish to Mike, who dunks it. Jake rolls back with his tongue out. Flowers with another 3 – how many is that? – and that’s where the score remains at halftime.
3:45 left in 1st half, WISKY, 32-22
Thoughts have turned to spring football here on press row. But then Walker goes to work on the block. We’re making an official list of the dumb fan comments we wanted retired. No. 1 is “Call it both ways, ref.” No. 2, as of right now, is “Play your game, (insert team nickname here).” If you’ve got more, holler at me, but this should be enough to get us started. Bill needs to stay on the block – they don’t have an answer for him there. But Flowers drills a 3, and UW has to be shooting at least 60 percent. I just told Howard Richman this was the part of the game where Bill picks up dumb fouls, and on cue, he hooks a defender to the floor. Flowers hits another 3, and the lead is expanding. But there’s a K-State steal, Mike pushes it to Bill, who is fouled on a lay-up attempt. Walker makes a pair and is then replaced by Ron Anderson. Mike might have to foul out this massive UW frontcourt just to make this game more interesting.
7:17 left in 1st half, WISKY, 26-16
Landry nails two free throws, and we’re tied. This pace is at Wisconsin’s liking, no doubt. Gilbert with a wild drive. Pullen off the bench and about to check into the game. Stupid drive and finger roll by Mike – they don’t have an answer for that. K-State gives up an offensive board and put-back on the other end, but then Mike responds with another drive. Yeah, he’s got six. DK checks in for Bill. Frank is calling “55,” and we’ll see what that is. Blake ends up with a 17-footer, which he misses. Frank said he wanted to get Blake more involved in the offense, and that might be the case today because he probably has a mismatch. Hughes, who has been Wisconsin’s best guard, hits over Jake, and Bohannon gets a 3. But Mike answers – again. Cats extending on the perimeter, but Stiemsma gets Beasley up in the air on a fake and drives around him. Gilbert comes over late and hacks Stiemsma, but it’s too late as the big man finishes. Frank glares at Gilbert, who, I’m assuming, should have come over for help quicker. Ron Anderson checks in for Mike at the 11:41 mark, and the five out of the break is Pullen, Anderson, DK, Bill and Stew. Jake with a couple of clean looks but nothing to show for it. Hughes just worked over Jake, and Frank goes to Blake immediately. DK with a nice entry – Frank has maintained DK is the best interior passer on the club – to Bill, who dunks it with two hands. In the ensuing possession, Walker grabs his ribs. Butch scores, and you know what I like about Bo Ryan? He’s going to abuse a mismatch. He going to pound it inside to his bigs. They’re scoring at will – but so is Mike, who is fouled a slashing drive. He hits the first free throw – and the second. He’s got 10. Hughes with a 3, and K-State’s defense seems a tad slow in rotating. Stew is aggressive, but it’s a charge. Butch with a 3, wide open again. Frank burns a timeout, and he has a puzzled look on his face.
15:51 left in 1st half, KSU, 6-4
Kind of hectic. Mike goes glass for the game’s first two points. Wisconsin is big, and Mike picks up his first foul with 17:59 – after Butch drives to the rack. Must have surprised Mike. Butch makes one of two. They’re hitting the board again, which is good. K-State’s coaching staff was concerned about Wisconsin’s ability to hit the offensive glass – keep that in mind. Nique rips a board and is fouled on the follow – he hits both free throws. Trevon Hughes drills a 3. Mike travels, but it’s not called – and the Wisconsin faithful are outraged. Bill misses a 3, but Blake is there for the put-back – how good has Blake been? Mike’s 3 rims out. Nique is called for a foul on Landry, as his arms are extended straight up in the air. Underwood tells him he didn’t do anything wrong. Curtis Malone is here again, by the way. And I think Duke lost, or is losing. And I won’t utter the name of he who we’re not supposed to speak about in this space, but he’s probably headed to the Sweet 16. Wonder if the Wildcats will join him…