Saturday November 14th, 2015

The No. 17 ranked Wisconsin Badgers dropped their season opener to Western Illinois 69–67 at the Kohl Center on Friday night.

J.C. Fuller led the Leathernecks with 20 points, five rebounds and two assists. Garrett Covington hit two fouls shots with 10.2 seconds left to give Western Illinois the lead.

Nigel Hayes, the Badgers’ top option up front, finished the night with 17 points (all scored in the first half), four rebounds and four assists. Point guard Bronson Koenig added another 17 points to tie Hayes for the team lead. Koenig missed a jumper with four seconds remaining that could have tied the game. 

Projected NCAA tournament field: UNC, Kansas, Duke, UK are No. 1 seeds

Western Illinois finished last in the Summit League last season with a 3–13 record. Wisconsin is coming off an NCAA championship game appearance and lost both of its top scorers from 2014–15 in Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. 

The Leathernecks are ranked 307th in SI’s college basketball team rankings and were chosen to finish at the bottom of the Summit League in a preseason poll of conference league coaches, SIDs and media. 

Wisconsin will look for its first win of the season when the Badgers play Siena on Sunday. Western Illinois will host Hannibal-LaGrange on Sunday.

- Christopher Chavez

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