(MCT) — EVANSTON, Ill. — After Northwestern’s latest blowout loss, a reporter asked coach Bill Carmody whether frustration had set in among his players.
“I hope so,” he replied. “They are mad, and I’m glad about that.”
Northwestern lost its fourth straight, and this one was no contest. Wisconsin scored the game’s first nine points and cruised to a 69-41 victory at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
When the Badgers weren’t hitting shots, they were rebounding them. They finished with 15 offensive boards.
“That killed us,” point guard Dave Sobolewski said.
The season-ending knee injury to Jared Swopshire has left the Wildcats without a big man to grab errant shots. Sobolewski had a team-high five rebounds. And he’s 6 foot 1.
“Losing one guy should not have that much effect,” Carmody said, “but it appears to have.”
NU’s other problem is even more basic.
With Wisconsin shutting down NU’s back-door game, the Wildcats shot 4-for-20 in the first half. Their 12 points represented NU’s lowest point total for a half in Carmody’s 13 years. (The previous was 13 first-half points in a 56-41 loss to Illinois in 2002.)
Reggie Hearn (13 points) was NU’s only double-digit scorer, while Wisconsin’s Jared Berggren and Ben Brust each logged 12 points, eight rebounds and two assists for the Badgers (19-8, 9-5 Big Ten).
Northwestern fell to 13-14, 4-10.
“For me, the motivation is to have (seniors) like Reggie and Alex (Marcotullio) leave on a good note,” Sobolewski said.
On Social Media Night, Northwestern had its players warm up in purple T-shirts with their Twitter handles on the back, such as @AlexMarco3llio4 and @DaveSobo3. The otherwise outdated scoreboard displayed #B1GCATS vs. #BADGERS. But fitting for a lost night, the arena wireless went out.
With its postseason hopes #allbutdead, one of NU’s major goals is to develop young players such as Tre Demps, Kale Abrahamson, Alex Olah and Mike Turner.
Abrahamson and Olah combined to go 0-for-9 from the field, but Demps hit 2 of 3 from downtown.
Carmody can only hope he gets the chance to develop those first-year players. The Wildcats have been blown out five times at home, never a good thing for a coach whose seat is beginning to sizzle.