Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW’s second-half explosion buries Hoosiers

Any doubts as to whether the Wisconsin Badgers were worthy candidates for the Big Ten title were erased in the final 20 minutes of Saturday afternoon’s 71-59 dismantling of the Indiana Hoosiers in front of 17,142 fans at the Kohl Center.

UW used a 17-4 run to start the second half, erasing an 8-point halftime deficit en route to knocking off the preseason Big Ten champions.

Sophomore Devin Harris’ 3-pointer 23 seconds into the second half sparked a Badger rally that IU would never answer. Wisconsin made its first five shots of the final half, opening up its first lead of the game since Freddie Owens’s jumper gave the Badgers a 2-0 advantage in the opening minute of the game.


Senior Kirk Penney finished the afternoon with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting while sophomore forward Mike Wilkinson contributed 16 points and six rebounds.

The Badgers, who won their 14th consecutive conference home game, overcame a horrendous first half that saw them shoot just 30.8 percent from the field and notch only two points in the paint to Indiana’s 14.

The Hoosiers used an 8-1 run to close the first half as freshman sensation Bracey Wright slammed home a fast-break dunk, giving Indiana a 29-21 halftime lead.

Despite IU’s solid first half, in which it shot 50 percent, their leading scorers Wright and senior Tom Coverdale were held to a combined six points under the blanketing defense of Harris, Owens and Boo Wade.

Harris’ 3-pointer to open up the second half was followed by another triple from Wilkinson as well as a 3-point play by freshman Alando Tucker that brought everyone in attendance to their feet as the Badgers erased their halftime deficit on their first three possessions of the second half.

“We gave up the lead in three straight possessions,” said a distraught IU head coach Mike Davis following the game. “It was just a situation where they knocked down some shots and we didn’t play any defense.”

IU senior Jeff Newton and freshman Marshall Strickland kept the Hoosiers within striking distance throughout the second half, although they would never regain the lead once relinquishing it on Tucker’s layup and free throw.

“We just got back to the basics,” said UW head coach Bo Ryan. “I didn’t make a scene in the locker room at halftime or anything like that. I just said, ‘Guys, this (playing fundamental basketball) is what we do well, so let’s just go out and do it.'”

The Badgers took a 47-39 lead on a Harris layup with 9:55 to go in the second half, and Indiana never pulled closer than within four points as Wisconsin outscored the Hoosiers 50 to 30 in the final 20 minutes of play.

Newton finished the afternoon with 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, which still wasn’t enough to overcome UW’s run-and-gun second half, which saw the Badgers shoot 58.3 percent from the field.

Penney’s 3-pointer with 2:58 seconds sealed the deal for Wisconsin, giving them a 59-49 lead.

Wilkinson, who was given no help defensively against Newton, played his most complete game of the season, and junior guard Freddie Owens netted 12 points while holding IU’s leading scorer Wright to just 6 points on the day.

Harris ended the game with 12 points, while Tucker finished with nine points and eight rebounds.

The erratic and emotional Davis, who was a constant target of the UW student section throughout the entire game, received a technical foul with 42 seconds left after a dispute over whether one of his players had fouled out.

The win moved the Badgers (8-3, 18-5) into a tie for first place in the Big Ten with Purdue and into a favorable position for capturing their second conference title in as many years.

The Hoosiers dropped to 5-6 in conference play (15-9 overall), which casts a serious doubt as to whether the defending national runners-up will even make it to the NCAA tournament in March.

A chant of “NIT, NIT” echoed from UW fans as Davis and the Hoosiers left the court.

Indiana most likely needs to win four of its final five games of the season in order to receive an invitation to the 64-team tournament.

Wisconsin, which completed a sweep of Michigan State and Indiana in a five-day span, next travels to last-place Penn State Wednesday and then to Iowa City Saturday, where they will take on the struggling Iowa Hawkeyes.

“I like the way our guys are playing,” said Ryan. “I’m going to try as a coach not to get in their way and we are going to give them, as a coaching staff, every possible chance to get it done.”

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