The Minute After: Wisconsin

  • 02/27/2024 10:23 pm in

Thoughts on a 74-70 win against Wisconsin:

Indiana hadn’t been up by double-digits in a game in 24 days.

But there the Hoosiers were, up 15 (32-17) against the Badgers in the first half at the 6:09 mark after a Kel’el Ware bucket. That score from Ware happened to make him a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor. He absolutely dominated the first half, scoring 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting. Elsewhere, Indiana’s offense hummed. Trey Galloway made plays en route to six first-half assists. And the shooting bugaboos, for at least a half, were gone. The Hoosiers made 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) from deep and 4-of-5 (80 percent) from the line. Ten of their 15 field goals were assisted. They turned the ball over just four times and scored 1.23 points per possession.

And yet … that 15-point lead dwindled to just five as the buzzer sounded for halftime.

The Badgers ripped off a 16-6 run to close the half, scoring on seven of their final eight possessions.

Indiana kept its lead to start the second half, but after a Galloway turnover led to a Chucky Hepburn score in transition, the game was tied at 51-all with 10:31 remaining. And then, one of the strangest things happened. All of a sudden, the crowd was asked to vacate Assembly Hall, and both teams left the court. A fire alarm was going off. The game was delayed with 10:06 to go. After nearly a 20-minute break in the action, play resumed. But Xavier Johnson then missed back-to-back free throws and Tyler Wahl made a layup. The Badgers went up for the first time all game, 53-51.

It see-sawed from there, the teams trading leads. But Indiana stayed in the fight. And when it mattered most, the Hoosiers made the plays and pulled out the four-point victory, breaking their four-game losing streak in the process.

“That locker room is very happy right now,” Mike Woodson said after the game. “When you go through a stretch like that, I don’t wish that on anyone. Nobody likes to lose.”

Those plays down the stretch from Indiana?

After a Wahl bucket at the 1:47 mark put Wisconsin up two at 70-68, Galloway hit a floater to tie it back up at 70. On Wisconsin’s next possession, Wahl had to get it up high over an outstretched Ware and the shot just missed. Anthony Leal then blocked out Steven Crowl hard, allowing Reneau to get the rebound. The Hoosiers found Reneau for a bucket on the other end. Galloway then chased down a missed AJ Storr 3-pointer into the left corner, boxing out the area around the ball and letting it go out of bounds for the Hoosiers to get the ball back.

Wisconsin fouled Mackenzie Mgbako and he hit both of his free throws on a 1-and-1 to give the Hoosiers the 74-70 advantage, where the game ended up.

Wisconsin missed its final four shots of the game after that with two misses apiece coming on opposite sides of Mgbako missing the front end of a 1-and-1.

The little things, coupled with some timely buckets, got the Hoosiers the victory in the end.

Ware finished with a monster line of 27 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. Mgbako and Reneau both scored 14. Galloway dished out 12 assists. In his return, Johnson scored five points, but also had five turnovers off the bench. He didn’t play the final 7:03 of the game. Indiana made 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range.

It’s just one game. But in a season that’s gone south, the Hoosiers proved tonight that they’re not gonna just pack it in for the rest of the season.

(Photo credit: IU Athletics)

Filed to: