Friday night’s loss seemed to be the final straw for Wisconsin men’s hockey head coach Mike Eaves.After another Big Ten defeat against Ohio State, the Badgers were still searching for their first conference win of the season Saturday.In game one of Wisconsin’s two-game road series against Ohio State, the Badgers got off to a hot start when forward Corbin McGuire scored on a rebound less than five minutes into the game to give Wisconsin an early one goal lead.While Wisconsin remained ahead by a goal one period, the second period completely belonged to the Buckeyes. A goal by Ohio State’s Tyler Lundley returned the momentum to the Buckeyes, and they never gave it back.With two minutes to play in the period, OSU forward Nick Shilkey put the Buckeyes up for good with a wrist shot that found the top left corner of the net.The Buckeyes entered the third leading 2-1, and that was how the game ended following a scoreless third period. The Badgers were outshot 42-20, and after the game, it appeared Eaves had run out of patience with his young team.“They have to start to get it going,” Eaves said. “That’s what is a little bit frustrating as a coach, and I think it’s on them as players. After Christmas, there are no true freshmen anymore. We should be better, so we have to figure that out.”Eaves was also critical of senior goaltender Joel Rumpel, who made forty saves in Friday night’s 2-1 defeat.“He kept us in it, he kept it 2-1, but I’ll be the first to say he’ll want both goals back,” Eaves said. “He played like the rest of the team. He was inconsistent.”But on Saturday in game two of the series, the Badgers seemed to take their coach’s words to heart, responding with an impressive bounce-back performance in Saturday night’s rematch that gave them their first Big Ten win of the season.After Ohio State scored just over a minute into Saturday night’s game, Wisconsin’s Grant Besse erased the Buckeyes’ lead in the 12th minute of the period with his 10th goal of the year.The teams remained deadlocked at one at the first intermission, but Ohio State’s Christian Lampasso opened up the scoring in the second period eight minutes to put the Buckeyes up by a goal once again.Down 2-1 in the second period, Wisconsin was in the same situation they were in the night before. However, this time, it would be a much happier ending for the Badgers.Four minutes after Ohio State took the lead, Wisconsin senior Joseph LaBate scored off a pass from Adam Rockwood to bring the Badgers and the Buckeyes even at two goals apiece.The game remained tied at two until just over four minutes were left in the final period when Rockwood and LaBate combined for a goal again. This time LaBate fed Rockwood for the late go-ahead goal.Led by goaltender Joel Rumpel, who made 28 saves, the Badgers held Ohio State without a goal in the final four minutes to escape Columbus with their first conference win.Next weekend, the Badgers will return to the Kohl Center to host Michigan State, hoping to put together their first winning streak of the season.
INDIANAPOLIS – The best season in Wisconsin men’s basketball history will end on the most disappointing of notes.Wisconsin, playing in the national championship game for just the second time in school history, was looking for its second national championship in program history Monday night against Duke at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.But fate was not on the Badgers’ side Monday, as the Blue Devils ran away from the Badgers in the closing minutes of the game to win the title over Wisconsin, 68-63.“It’s a tough one. We had this game,” Wisconsin junior forward Sam Dekker said. “Congrats to Duke. I’m proud of our guys. I’m blessed to be on this team.“This one hurts. It hurts.”Wisconsin (36-4) had already set the program record for wins and was up by nine with 13 minutes and 25 seconds separating it from a magical finish to a historic season.But Duke (35-4), who knocked off Wisconsin at the Kohl Center earlier this season, had other plans and stormed back to tie the game at 54 a little over five minutes later.From there, Duke found its rhythm from the floor and after freshman guard Tyus Jones drained a 3-pointer with 4:08 to put the Blue Devils on top 59-58, Duke never trailed the rest of the way.Freshman and ACC Player of the Year Jahlil Okafor scored four straight points for Duke after Jones’ three and the Blue Devils held a five-point advantage with 2:10 remaining in the game.Jason Chan/The Badger HeraldJones, who finished with a game-high 21 points and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, followed a Wisconsin missed shot with another 3-pointer that put the Blue Devils up 66-58 and sent a dagger to the hopes of Wisconsin winning its second national championship and first in 74 years.A quick 5-0 run from Wisconsin – a Frank Kaminsky three and Nigel Hayes dunk – kept the Badgers’ hopes alive down three, 66-63, with 49 seconds left, but Jones hit two free throws that sealed the game for Duke and gave the Blue Devils their fifth national championship under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.“What a fantastic job these guys did all year,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “They just came together to do all the things that they accomplished.“It’s just unfortunate that this one had to be played out that way.”Jason Chan/The Badger HeraldAfter Wisconsin had gone up by nine earlier in the half, it went only 6-for-20 the rest of the game and 4-for-13 once Duke came back to tie the game at 54 with 7:04 remaining.Duke gained an advantage at the free-throw line in the second half, getting into the bonus with 11:43 remaining in the game. Duke began to attack the paint which forced Wisconsin into foul trouble and sent the Blue Devils to the free-throw line.Duke made 12 of its 16 free throw shots in the second half on some foul calls that had the Wisconsin players and Ryan visibly upset.“We still felt like we were doing what we were supposed to be doing, what coach preaches to us, sliding our feet, chest up, hands up and staying on the ground, but the calls weren’t going our way,” Hayes said. “We don’t want to blame any of that. We just didn’t play a good enough 40 minutes to win.”Dekker, who had been playing his basketball of the season during the tournament, struggled in the second half of Monday’s game, going only 2-of-6 from the floor, scoring four points. He finished the game with 12 points and eight rebounds.Jason Chan/The Badger Herald“He was just was off with his outside shot,” Ryan said of Dekker. “We all would have like to have seen one or two of those go down, but they didn’t. And that happens in games. He hasn’t had very many of those, but it happens.”Duke freshman guard Grayson Allen played a large role in bringing the Blue Devils back into the game in the second half. During Duke’s 15-6 run after Wisconsin took a nine-point lead, Allen scored eight straight points for the Blue Devils, including a 3-pointer and an and-one. He finished with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting.Along with freshman forward Justice Winslow, the freshmen group of Allen, Okafor and Jones combined to score 60 of Duke’s 68 points Monday night.Jason Chan/The Badger HeraldKaminsky led the Badgers with 21 points and 12 rebounds while both Hayes (13) and sophomore guard Bronson Koenig (10) finished in double figures for Wisconsin.Kaminsky and Dekker were named to the all-Final Four team for their efforts against both Duke and Kentucky.But the accolades for Dekker and the win over Kentucky on Saturday, won’t alleviate the pain from Monday’s heartbreaking loss anytime soon.“This one’s worse, man, because I knew what we had,” Dekker said, comparing Monday’s loss to last season’s Final Four loss to Kentucky. “I knew what we had coming back, that our group was going to make it to this point and this is what we wanted. We wanted to be in this game and win this game. Just came up short. That was a great ride we had.”Jason Chan/The Badger HeraldFor seniors Josh Gasser, Traevon Jackson, Duje Dukan and Kaminsky, Monday’s game will be the last in their careers at Wisconsin. While ending on a disappointing note, this team – and the senior class – will always be able to recall the first consecutive trips to the Final Four in program history, the most wins in program history and playing in the national championship game for the first time in 74 years.“We had a heck of a season,” Gasser said. “The stuff we accomplished. Sometimes, life’s not fair. This is not the outcome we envisioned. We knew we were going to win; just didn’t happen. Duke is a great team, but just didn’t do it.”