There is no easy game this season in the loaded Big Ten Conference.
Though the No. 8 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (11-2, 4-1 Big Ten) entered Thursday’s home game against Indiana (7-5, 2-3) as eight-point favorites, the Badgers needed double overtime to take down the feisty Hoosiers, surviving an 80–73 scare at the Kohl Center.
Archie Miller’s team proved they would be no pushovers from the opening tip. After a 9–4 lead for the Badgers to start the game, Indiana sophomore standout Trayce Jackson-Davis scored back-to-back baskets and Jerome Hunter added a triple to give Indiana an 11–9 advantage.
The Badgers responded with a 14–0 run spark plugged by eight points from senior forward Aleem Ford, including two baskets from beyond the arc. The Badgers used the run to extend their lead to 11, but back-to-back 3-point shots from Anthony Leal narrowed the Wisconsin lead to five heading into the break.
The two sides traded baskets for most of the second half, but the Hoosiers began to empower their will inside. With the game tied at 50, senior guard Aljami Durham snuck inside for a layup giving the Hoosiers a two-point lead. Jackson-Davis followed with a slam that extended Indiana’s lead to four.
Trailing by five with five minutes to play, the Badgers were in danger of dropping their second home game to an unranked opponent. The team needed a spark and that came from sophomore forward Tyler Wahl. The Hoosiers looked to extend their five-point lead as Wahl intercepted a pass then bolted to the opposite end for a ferocious dunk. Wahl’s finish halted Indiana’s momentum and just like that, the Badgers were back in the game.
Senior Nathan Reuvers gave Wisconsin a 57–56 lead with a jump-hook in the paint, but a 3-pointer gave Indiana a narrow 59–57 lead with just over a minute to go. After senior D’Mitrik Trice knotted the game at 59 with two clutch free throws, Jackson-Davis knifed through the lane and as help-side defense arrived, the heady sophomore dropped a pass to Hunter for a dunk that gave Indiana the lead with 42.3 seconds remaining.
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As hope seemed to be lost, Trice came through again, this time with a silky floater in the paint — sending the contest to overtime.
The first overtime was a defensive bout. Both teams combined for just eight points in the overtime’s first four minutes. The Badgers trailed by two and again were in dire need of a bucket, so in stepped Trice. The seasoned 24-year-old nailed another clutch triple to give Wisconsin a one-point lead with over a minute to go, but the Hoosiers wouldn’t go away and a Durham basket gave Indiana a two-point lead.
Trice again responded, this time knocking down a stepback jump shot that sent the game into double overtime. Trice’s 21 points give him three 20-point performances in his last four games, quickly putting him into the conversation for top point guard in the country.
The Badgers broke through in the second overtime and got an unexpected offensive lift from Wahl. Wahl entered the game with only two 3-pointers on the season but surprisingly hit two massive 3-point buckets to put the game out of reach. The Badgers survived the upset, holding on for an 80–73 win.
The road doesn’t get any easier for the Badgers. Wisconsin now travels to Ann Arbor for a top-10 showdown against undefeated No. 10 Michigan Tuesday night.