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Northwestern scores only 12 points in first half of 69-41 loss to No. 19 Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Jared Berggren shoots over Northwestern's Dave Sobolewski (3) during first half an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday Feb. 20

Wisconsin's Jared Berggren shoots over Northwestern's Dave Sobolewski (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: ILCA101

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Updated: March 22, 2013 10:48AM

If Northwestern fans thought the Wildcats’ performance in the first half Sunday night in the loss against Illinois was tough to watch, well, this was worse.

This was historically bad.

The Wildcats shot 20 percent from the field against the 19th-ranked Badgers and had only 12 points at the break before losing 69-41 Wednesday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

It was the lowest-scoring first half since coach Bill Carmody arrived 13 years ago, a point below the 13 the Wildcats scored in the first half of a 56-41 loss to Illinois in 2002.

“It didn’t seem much different to me than the other night against Illinois,” Carmody said.

Despite a rash of injuries suffered by Northwestern (13-14 overall, 4-10 Big Ten), such performances will turn up the heat on Carmody.

He had the program inching in the right direction before injuries depleted his roster.

But the improvement hasn’t come fast enough for impatient fans who believe the program needs new leadership.

“We’re just having a hard time putting the ball in the basket,” Carmody said. “Our rebounding is anemic. I’m not sure of the answer. We’ll see if we can maybe go with a bigger team, maybe put [Nikola Cerina] in there, but I don’t know. Big teams don’t necessarily get the rebounds. Maybe you keep them from getting them. I don’t know.

‘‘I’m not sure of the answer.”

Every game is a tough assignment for Northwestern since Jared Swopshire became the latest senior to go down with an injury, but this matchup was especially difficult.

The Badgers (19-8, 10-4) started three seniors and a junior. Carmody countered with four freshmen among his top six players.

“Losing one guy in Swopshire shouldn’t have that major of an effect on us, but it has,” Carmody said.

Northwestern shot 29.4 percent for the game and was outrebounded 43-19, including 14-4 on the offensive glass.

Senior Reggie Hearn led Northwestern with 13 points.

Jared Berggren and Ben Brust each had 12 points and eight rebounds for Wisconsin.

“Me and [Alex Marcotullio] got four games left in conference, then the Big Ten tourney and whatever happens after that,” Hearn said.

“We’re not going to go down without a fight.”

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