No. 23 UCLA, Wisconsin meet in consolation game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The good part of playing on back-to-back nights is getting a chance to get right back on the court to remove the bitter sting of a defeat. The bad part is that there is not a lot of time to learn from what went wrong.

Wisconsin will face No. 23 UCLA in the consolation game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic on Tuesday night at Sprint Center. UCLA lost to Creighton 100-89 in the first semifinal, while Wisconsin lost 70-65 to No. 25 Baylor in the second game.

Wisconsin is known for its slow pace, while UCLA likes to run up and down the floor.

"UCLA is another good team," Badgers coach Greg Gard said. "Like I just told our team in the locker room, here we go again, another really good team we have to get ready for in less than 24 hours.

"We'll have to see what we learn from tonight. We'll have to take steps forward."

Wisconsin (2-2) fell behind Baylor by 19 points midway through the second half, then went on a 21-4 run to cut the deficit to two points. However, the Badgers couldn't get over the hump.

"If we could bottle the last 10 minutes and have that level of competitiveness and fight and execution of the game plan, we would have been in a much different position," Gard said. "As they say, if you want to get out of the hole, stop digging. We were able to stop digging and fight our way back."

UCLA (3-1) has its own issues after taking its first loss of the season. The Bruins could not stop Creighton's runs. The Blue Jays had a 16-point surge in the first half and a 14-0 run sandwiched around halftime.

"We just couldn't get stops," UCLA coach Steve Alford said. "We just couldn't get any stops that mattered. Offensively, we did a lot of good things. We had the inside-out going like we wanted. We just couldn't get the stops, and I thought that was the key."

With less than 24 hours to prepare, and sleep not much of an option, both coaches will have to figure out solutions and then pass them along to weary players to avoid back-to-back defeats in Kansas City.

"We have to continue to work on what we've got to do defensively," Alford said Monday. "We just have to go back to the hotel and watch some tape. ... We just have to try to do better tomorrow."

The Bruins will look for another strong performance from Aaron Holiday, who scored 25 points against the Bluejays. Thomas Welsh contributed 16 points and 13 rebounds for UCLA.

For Wisconsin, Ethan Happ is the early-season leader. He tops the team in points (19.0 per game), rebounds (9.8) and assists (3.8). Against Baylor, he finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. He takes his leadership role seriously.

"We need to get guys to realize, myself included, that it's going to be a dogfight from the very start," he said.

Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Our Latest Stories