MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- After a week's worth of adversity,
Saturday's game against North Dakota State was supposed to be a
welcome respite for Wisconsin (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP).
Instead, the Badgers had their 27-game home non-conference
winning streak snapped by an unlikely opponent, losing 62-55 to the
Wasn't North Dakota State supposed to be playing the patsy,
sulking on the seven-hour bus ride back to Fargo after providing a
glorified scrimmage to a major-conference foe?
"I've been in that situation a lot," said Bison coach Tim
Miles, who previously coached at Mayville (N.D.) State and
Southwest Minnesota State. "People look at you like they're going
to whip you."
But the Bison -- with help from assistant coach Saul Phillips, a
former assistant to Badgers coach Bo Ryan -- came up with an
effective game plan and ended up whipping Wisconsin instead.
The loss added to what already was a bad week for the Badgers
(14-4), who lost their first Big Ten game at Ohio State on
Wednesday and have lost two of their top reserves for an indefinite
period of time.
"You just try to find ways to hang around, then you try to find
the one way to win the game," Miles said.
For North Dakota State, that one way was clogging the lane on
defense and forcing Wisconsin's players to shoot from the
The Bison (11-9) forced outside shots, and Wisconsin responded
with airballs and clankers.
The Badgers shot 16-for-72, including 4-for-27 from 3-point
"That has to be the worst shooting performance that I've ever
seen," said Alando Tucker, who started the game 0-for-12.
While stunned with the shooting performance, Ryan didn't seem
upset at his team's effort in the loss.
"When the ball doesn't go in, you can't explain it all the
time," Ryan said.
Wisconsin forced 24 turnovers and had 22 offensive rebounds to
North Dakota State's nine -- signs, Ryan said, that his team was
"It's very difficult to ever try to analyze this without
paralyzing yourself," Ryan said.
Ryan insisted the Badgers didn't underestimate the Bison.
"Not at all," Ryan said. "No way. We knew they were a good
The Bison got a game-high 24 points from freshman guard Ben
Woodside, and a surprising 16 points inside from forward Andre
"It's just unbelievable right now," Woodside said. "It's
probably one of the greatest basketball feelings I've ever had."
North Dakota State is in the third year of a five-year NCAA
reclassification from Division II to Division I.
"A lot of people underestimated us, and that's fine," Miles
said. "Around campus, we walked around in August like we were
going to a wake. Every student was giving us condolences on going
to Division I. Hopefully, we made them proud today."
The Badgers tried to rally from an 18-point deficit in the final
7 minutes, closing to 54-47 on Kammron Taylor's layup with 2
But Tucker missed two free throws with 1:46 remaining, and
Woodside intercepted Joe Krabbenhoft's inbound pass with 1:31 left.
Woodside was fouled by Taylor on the play, and made two free
throws to put the Bison ahead 56-47.
The Badgers had their chances in the final minutes. But as was
the case all game, they couldn't make their shots.
"We had some good shots," Tucker said. "You can't get any
more open than that."
It has been that kind of week for the Badgers.
Before Wednesday night's loss to Ohio State, the school
announced that Greg Stiemsma is taking a leave of absence because
of undisclosed personal medical reasons. No timetable has been set
for his return.
Wisconsin also suspended freshman forward Marcus Landry for the
last two games, although the school hasn't provided a specific
reason for the punishment.
The Badgers had another scare Saturday when Krabbenhoft appeared
to hurt his jaw. But he was able to returned to the lineup and
played the second half with a bandage on his chin.
After the big victory, Miles wondered whether he might have
trouble finding big-name opponents to play in the future.
"It's going to help recruiting, obviously," he said. "It
might hurt scheduling."
- John Hughes
- Sam Banks
- Terry Wymer