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Wisconsin clamps down on Thomas Bryant once again

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin was kryptonite to Thomas Bryant this season. In three meetings, the Badgers were able to keep the 6-foot-10 McDonald’s All-American center from being much of a factor, particularly on offense, and that was a big factor in the Hoosiers' 70-60 Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal loss Friday evening.

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin was kryptonite to Thomas Bryant this season.

In three meetings, the Badgers were able to keep the 6-foot-10 McDonald’s All-American center from being much of a factor, particularly on offense.

The sophomore scored a career-low two points in the Hoosiers’ 70-60 Big Ten quarterfinal loss to the Badgers Friday evening at the Verizon Center.

Bryant didn’t get his first point until he hit one of two free throws with 12:54 to play in the game. IU trailed 47-34 at that point.

Bryant was 0-for-4 from the floor, 2-for-4 from the line with three rebounds, four fouls and three turnovers in 23 minutes.

“Just missing a few easy bunnies that I usually make in my sleep. That started right there,” Bryant said. “It was on me on the defensive end. They didn’t feel me as much as Iowa did yesterday, so that’s on me.

“Of course we lost. I feel like I could have played better, just helping my teammates out, especially in that first half were I got two early ones. That’s on me right there on the defensive end.

“Offense will take care of itself. I’ve got to be more locked in on the defensive end.”

Bryant picked up his second foul with 15:58 to play in the first half for the Hoosiers, who are 18-15 and wait to see if they receive an NIT invitation.

Bryant averaged 12.9 points per game during the season.

In three games against Wisconsin he scored two, 11 and six points.

In those three games combined, he shot 7-for-14 from 2-point range and 1-for-2 from the arc. He averaged 8.4 field goal attempts on the season but never got more that five in a game against Wisconsin.

Indiana freshman center De’Ron Davis wasn’t able to fill the gap on Friday, scoring two points on 1-for-6 shooting.

“They missed shots they usually make. It's one of those things. I can't say,” IU coach Tom Crean said.

“You have to play through the contact, okay? When you're going to play against a Wisconsin team, whether it was when Bo (Ryan) first came into the league or whether it's now, they're going to put their chest into you. That's what it is.

“I gave up complaining about that years ago, right? They're going to put their chest in you. You have to play through the contact.

“But we didn't make those shots. It's not the only time we've gone against contact. We didn't make the shots. But we were right there. We were getting it in the paint. We also missed some jumpers we would make.

“I think we got a little frustrated because we didn't make the close shots. It is what it is.”

On the other end, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ was solid and productive once again.

The 6-foot-10 sophomore had 14 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 7-for-9 from the floor. Nigel Hayes added 10 points and Vitto Brown chipped in five as the Badgers’ starting frontcourt scored 29 of Wisconsin’s 70 points.

In three games against Indiana, Happ scored 14, 19 and 20 points and shot a combined 23-for-30 (77 percent).

“I didn't think I did as well offensively as I could have, even though the numbers don't show it,” Happ said when asked about his three games against IU this season.

“I think the biggest thing is that we just come ready to play. We know they're an up-tempo team. We want to control the pace. Not that we want to control the pace, but we controlled the pace in all three matchups. We were able to do it that way.”


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