Last year's national runner up started the season in shocking fashion when No. 17 Wisconsin was upset by Western Illinois, 69-67, on Friday night in Madison.
It was the first season-opening loss for the Badgers since Bo Ryan's first season as head coach, when Wisconsin fell to UNLV in 2001. It was Western Illinois' first win against a Big Ten team since 1994.
Wisconsin scored just 23 points in the second half and shot 35.5 percent from the field on the night, making just seven of its 21 3-point attempts, while Western Illinois shot 54 percent from the field.
The Badgers led by seven at halftime, but the Leathernecks opened the second half with a 7-0 run to tie the game not three minutes into the period. Western Illinois took an eight-point lead with a 9-1 run in the middle of the second half, and that's where it stood with five minutes to play.
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Vitto Brown did his best to claw the Badgers back into the game, hitting a jumper, grabbing a rebound, hitting a pair of free throws, blocking a shot and grabbing two more rebounds during a terrific stretch to set up a Bronson Koenig jumper that cut Western's lead to two with three minutes left. And after a Leathernecks spurt extended things back out to five, Koenig hit a 3 with two and a half minutes left to make it a two-point game again. After getting a steal, Brown got a layup to tie the game with two minutes to go.
Wisconsin missed a couple chances to take a late lead, and Western's Garrett Covington hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to give the Leathernecks a lead. Koenig's jumper to tie missed as time expired, and the Badgers lost.
Koenig and Nigel Hayes each had 17 points to lead the Badgers. Brown scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds, blocked two shots and had a pair of steals.
Wisconsin next faces Siena on Sunday.