Johnny Davis' injury leads to Wisconsin 74-74 loss to Nebraska
March 7, 2022
Tenth-ranked Wisconsin lost its leading scorer Johnny Davis with an injury during the second half of its game against Nebraska on Sunday. The team failed to clinch the Big Ten title due to a 74-73 loss to the Cornhuskers.
Davis got injured during the second half after he was fouled by Nebraska's Trey McGowens. The 20 years old guard left the court with a lower-body injury. For the flagrant foul on Davis, McGowens was ejected from the game.
When asked about his star guard's injury, Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard expressed his optimism that Davis would be fine.
"I'm optimistic that he's going to be fine," Gard said.
Gard noted that the officials probably knew about his thoughts regarding the incident and would trust the matter to the officials.
"The officials knew my thoughts and knew them actually before it happened on some other things that I saw. I'll leave it at that and I'll watch the replay and I'll make the necessary phone calls," added the coach.
Despite the loss, Wisconsin could share the Big Ten title with Illinois, which defeated Iowa on Sunday. Illinois will head to Indianapolis on Wednesday as they are the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Nebraska outperforms Wisconsin
Alonzo Verge Jr. led the way for Nebraska with 26 points. His last nine points came during a 12-0 run that helped the team pull ahead of Wisconsin. During the run with less than six minutes left, Verge made two free throws to give the Cornhuskers a 74-71 lead.
Wisconsin's Chucky Hepburn hit two free throws with 19.3 seconds left in the clock, bringing the deficit to 74-73. However, the senior guard missed a 3-point attempt as time expired.
Gard attributed Hepburn's miss to a wide-open look at the basket he hadn't seen in practice. He also noted that other factors contributed to the team's downfall.
"He hits one Tuesday night that's highly contested off the glass and he has one wide open, he hasn't had one that wide open in practice for a long time, so that's part of it," the 51 years old head coach said. "We got a clean look at the rim, but there was a lot of other things that went into us not having success today."
The game also featured the emergence of Bryce McGowens, who averages 17 points per game. Aside from that, Derrick Waker scored 15 points and CJ. Wilcher chipped in 10 points for the Cornhuskers.
Gard noted that his team has exceeded expectations despite the loss this season. He said that the team still has plenty of time to improve and prepare for the upcoming NCAA Tournament despite the setback.
"This stings, and this wasn't us in a lot of different of ways, but let's not lose sight … the day wasn't good, but the season has been fantastic," the Wisconsin native head coach said. "We've got obviously more to play. We'll see where we're going to be on Friday in terms of game time and those type of things, but everybody's 0-0 and you move on to the next one and get ready to go."
Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg noted that his team responded well after losing its composure in the first half. He also stated that they could get back on track after putting Verge back on the floor.