The Minute After: Wisconsin

  • 02/05/2017 4:05 pm in

Thoughts on a 65-60 loss to the Badgers:

Wisconsin shut down Indiana’s perimeter weave. The Hoosiers couldn’t drop in a 3-pointer. Turnovers were rampant.

It was the kind of start that should have absolutely doomed the Hoosiers at the Kohl Center. And for a little bit, it looked liked it was going to, as Wisconsin went up 12 (22-10) at the 8:34 mark of the first half on an Ethan Happ lay-in.

But Indiana played inspired defense. Wisconsin wasn’t sharp with the ball. It allowed the Hoosiers to erase the lead and enter halftime down just three points (27-24). The stats for both teams at half were not pretty. The Hoosiers scored just .75 points per possession. Wisconsin wasn’t much better at .85. Both teams turned it over on 25.1 percent of their possessions. And shooting from both squads was similarly poor (Indiana eFG%: 38.9, Wisconsin eFG%: 38.5).

For a team that hasn’t won in Madison since 1998, though, you’ll take just about any kind of game to keep it this close.

The Hoosiers kept coming in the second half and despite never taking the lead — they got as close as two at the 10:39 mark and were within three points twice in the final minute of the contest — Indiana played Wisconsin about as even as you could have hoped considering the circumstances. As Alex noted in At The Buzzer, the deciding statistic in this one was Wisconsin’s 12-point advantage at the foul line (23-10) and its 10-point advantage off turnovers (16-6) — despite a similar turnover percentage between the squads (Indiana: 23.7%, Wisconsin: 20.6%).

After tossing up a career-high 27 points in Indiana’s triple overtime win against Penn State earlier in the week, Josh Newkirk had another strong offensive outing (22 points) this afternoon in Madison. Newkirk’s penetration was a problem for the Badgers in the second half and he was the only Hoosier who hit consistently from distance. Newkirk made 4-of-6 from the 3-point line. The rest of the Hoosiers made just 3-of-14 on an afternoon they shot 35 percent overall from deep.

Indiana failed to get the ball inside to Thomas Bryant early and he only had seven shot attempts the entire contest. But he made the best of his opportunities and finished with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. However, his four turnovers were second worst on the team to Newkirk’s five. Robert Johnson hit just 5-of-15 from the field to go along with three turnovers. He also continues to take too many long 2s inside Indiana’s offensive sets. De’Ron Davis had a nice run in the middle of the second half where he hit two buckets on two consecutive possessions, reminiscent of how he gave the Badgers a lot of trouble in Bloomington the first go around this season.

This one goes in the books as a loss, but it was a valiant effort for the Hoosiers against the class of the Big Ten. If the Hoosiers get James Blackmon Jr. back in action for the Purdue game at home on Thursday night, it’ll go a long way to helping out an offense that has struggled for stretches without him over the last three contests.

And a raucous Assembly Hall faithful against the rival Boilermakers should help, too.

(Photo credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports)

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