It may have been the two most monotonous styles of basketball to ever meet on the hardwood.
Wisconsin has been known for a long time for its slow style of play and tedious half court offense. Northwestern adopted a similar strategy earlier this season, focusing on patient offense and team defense. It hasn't taken long for Northwestern to develop their identity, and they proved its strength in beating Wisconsin at the Kohl Center Wednesday night.
The first half consisted of a lot of back-and-forth action with the Badgers and Wildcats splitting buckets, and at the half Wisconsin led 23-22. The Badgers held a slight lead for the first eight minutes of the second half. Then, the 'Cats caught fire.Northwestern went on a 20-4 run which included four made three pointers, and all of a sudden NU was up 54-39 with 3:41 to play.
Wisconsin would not give up easy though. Bo Ryan threw on the full court press, leading to a handful of turnovers and with 41 seconds left, the Badgers were only down six. However, Wisconsin would not score again as Drew Crawford hit three free throws to ice the victory for Northwestern.
Crawford had undoubtedly his best game of the season, scoring 30 points on 10-15 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds, and leading NU to a huge win. Tre Demps was a little off his game. He had 10 points and five assists but took some ill-advised shots throughout the game. JerShon Cobb added 10 points, all of which came in the second half.
The big victory truly relied on Northwestern's defense. They held Wisconsin to 15-57 from the field and 5-18 for the Badgers' star duo of Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky. Wisconsin scored only 0.82 points per trip.
Ben Brust led the way for Wisconsin, scoring 21 points on 7-18 shooting. Kaminsky came just short of a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds. Traevon Jackson also scored eight points and Dekker had 11.
For Wisconsin, this marks their fourth loss in five games. They lost to Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota before beating Purdue last Saturday. The Badgers will host the struggling Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday.
This victory was huge for Chris Collins and the Northwestern program. Going on the road and beating the 14th ranked team in the country is a big accomplishment for a team that lost to Illinois State earlier this season. The win is the 'Cats' fourth victory in their last six outings. Northwestern travels to Minnesota for a matchup with the Golden Gophers Saturday.