Badgers lose third straight, fall to Illinois 61-51 on Saturday

Wisconsin lost their third straight contest Saturday, falling to Illinois 61-51 at the Kohl Center. The Badgers have now dropped six of their last seven games and finished this week of action 0-3.

The contest was super low scoring heading into half, with Illinois holding a 20-16 lead and each team’s individual halftime point total was their lowest of the campaign. Down the stretch, the Fighting Illini pulled away and at one point held a 17-point advantage with 2:29 left in the game. The lead was greatly fueled by a 10-0 run the team went on.

For the Badgers, the return of Max Klesmit (upper body) was a welcomed one and it was evident throughout the first half and into the second that the team greatly benefited from the guard’s defensive prowess. He was able to secure two steals while he also supplied on the offensive end. His 12 points (4-10 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 1-3 FT) ranked second on the team.

Chucky Hepburn rebounded well from Wednesday’s three shot, three point performance in the loss to Maryland, supplying 15 points (6-14 FG, 3-5 3Pt), five rebounds, two steals and a rebound over 36 minutes.

On the opposite side, Matthew Mayer torched the Badgers, scoring a game-high 26 points (9-19 FG, 5-11 3Pt, 3-4 FT) while also adding six rebounds and a block. He turned it on in the second half, producing 18 points after halftime.

In addition to Mayer, Jayden Epps was able to chip in nine of his 13 points in the second half, helping the Fighting Illini pull out the victory.

The loss dropped the Badgers to 12-8 on the season and 4-6 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin will return to action Thursday (Feb. 2) on the road against Ohio State at 6 PM.

With the victory, Illinois improved to 15-6 on the campaign and they are now 6-4 in conference matchups. Overall, the team has won six out of their last seven games, including a two-game sweep over the Badgers this year.

Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire