Zak Showalter, Khalil Iverson

Zak Showalter and Khalil Iverson battle for a loose ball against Georgetown. Wisconsin lost the game 71-61.

Nov. 20, Madison Square Garden in New York

Season record: 2-2

NEW YORK — The national stage can be a dangerous place for a group still learning how to put one foot in front of the other.

The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team didn’t exactly trip and fall on its face Friday evening at Madison Square Garden, but there were plenty of stumbles for the Badgers during a 71-61 loss to Georgetown in a semifinal of the 2K Classic.

UW fell into the consolation bracket despite a game-high 22 points from junior forward Nigel Hayes. 

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UW, which has lost two games in November for only the third time in coach Bo Ryan’s 15 seasons, is still searching for an identity as a young roster tries to figure out roles and form some chemistry.

The Badgers’ defense was mostly solid in the first half Friday, but they struggled to put the ball in the basket. The script was flipped in the second half.

That inconsistency can be maddening to watch, but it’s also to be expected.

“It would have been a great year to do the foreign trip” in the summer, Ryan said. “Because that’s five games, that’s 70 possessions a game, that’s 10 practices. But you can’t do it every year.”