Decade of Misery Against Wisconsin Comes To An End With 81-71 Win

Story posted January 31, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Logan Bourandas

2011. That was the last time the Penn State Nittany Lions beat the Wisconsin Badgers in a men’s basketball game.

Back then, the Nittany Lions all-time leading scorer and current assistant coach Talor Battle was still repping the blue and white. Battle, with only nine points, led the Nittany Lions to an ugly 36-33 win in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. Penn State would lose to Ohio State in the final round that year.

That game was on March 11, 2011. Penn State would lose its next 13 games against the Wisconsin Badgers. Eight of those 13 losses came in Happy Valley.

The drought started off small as the first five games were all within 10 points and they were games that the Nittany Lions easily could’ve won. That stretch included a game on March 10, 2013 almost two years after that tournament win.

That Wisconsin team was ranked No. 22 in the country and the Nittany Lions were close to overtime before a Traevon Jackson three pointer at the buzzer to give the Badgers a 63-60 win and keep the streak alive.

After that, the games became ugly. The Badgers destroyed the Nittany Lions on New Year’s Eve the next year with a 17 point win in Madison. Their worst loss in the drought, however, came three years later.

Penn State had only managed to play Wisconsin once in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, but the Nittany Lions were reminded of how deadly the Badgers are in their first meeting of 2017. In Madison, the Nittany Lions only put up 55 points as they would be dismantled by the Badgers 82-55.

Penn State legend Tony Carr was still on the team at this point, but he was held to just 12 points in the game. Wisconsin was powered by a strong second half with 20 points from Bronson Koenig.

There were four games left after that rout, the closest one coming in that same year the next season as the Nittany Lions were one Tony Carr three pointer away from ending the streak. That game was one of the best chances for it to end as Wisconsin was 4-5 at the time while Penn State was 7-3. Current Penn Staters Jamari Wheeler and John Harrar rode the bench in the loss.

Even in the Pat Chambers era as Penn State reached its best point last season, the team just couldn’t get past Wisconsin as the Nittany Lions lost by nine points at home.

Fast forward to today and Penn State not only ended the streak, but did so in convincing fashion. The Nittany Lions took the Badgers down 81-71 in a game that head coach Jim Ferry said was huge going forward in his opening statement.

"Great team win and a great program win,” Ferry said. “I have ultimate respect for Wisconsin.”

As the losing streak ended for Penn State, the Nittany Lions will have a chance to start a two game winning streak on Tuesday as the two teams will face off once again.


Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email