It was Eric Gordon who was nursing a wrist injury Thursday night, but the entire Hoosier team is now dealing with a bruised ego.
The 11th-ranked Hoosiers scored the fewest points they've scored in a half this year – 20 – to land in a 10-point halftime lead and ultimately fell victim to No. 13 Wisconsin 62-49 at the Kohl Center.
The setback was the Hoosiers' second straight after losing just one of their first 18 games this season. It also was IU's first Big Ten loss and dropped Coach Kelvin Sampson's team from sole possession of the conference lead into fourth place, a half-game behind conference co-leaders Wisconsin, Purdue and Michigan State.
Indiana had hoped to get some separation from the other Big Ten title contenders with a fourth straight Big Ten road win, but a dismal first half that included more turnovers (9) than field goals (8) landed IU in a double-digit hole. The Hoosiers' hopes of a second-half comeback were dealt a serious blow by a 16-6 Wisconsin run to open the period that extended the lead to 20, 46-26.
Gordon then scored 10 straight points to key a 17-2 IU run that got the lead back down to five with 7:24 remaining, but Wisconsin made 10 of 13 free-throws in the games final 6 ½ minutes to secure the win.
In holding Indiana to a season-low in both points and field goal percentage (33.3 percent), the Badgers won for the 35th time in their last 36 games at the Kohl Center. Indiana, meanwhile, dropped its seventh straight in Madison and hasn't won there since 1998.
"We hung in there and fought, but we didn't make enough shots," Sampson said.
Gordon played with padding and wrap on his left wrist to protect an injury that occurred earlier this week, and he appeared to be bothered early on. He scored just four points in the first half on 2-of-7 shooting before settling for 16 points in 36 minutes.
With Gordon limited, the Hoosiers leaned heavily on D.J. White. White finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds, giving him 12 double-doubles on the season.
As good as White was, it wasn't enough to overcome a balanced Badger effort. Trevon Hughes finished with a team-high 16 points, while Marcus Landry added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Michael Flowers finished with 10. Joe Krabbenhoft, meanwhile, added six points, five assists and 12 rebounds.
Like Indiana, Wisconsin struggled shooting the ball, going just 20-of-58 overall and 3-of-20 from behind the 3-point arc. But Bo Ryan's team made 19-of-26 free throws and committed only six turnovers, compared to 13 for IU.
"Usually if you go on the road and hold a team to 34 percent shooting and you out-rebound them, you're in good shape," Sampson said.
Sampson said afterwards he was generally pleased with the looks his team got against the Badgers, but not nearly went down. The Hoosiers were particularly anemic from 3-point range, missing 18 of 21 attempts. Gordon was 2-of-7 from 3-point range, while Big Ten 3-point percentage leader Armon Bassett was 0-of-5 and Lance Stemler 1-of-6.
"Armon Bassett is a better 3-point shooter than 0-for-5, and Lance Stemler is better than 1-for-6," Sampson said.
That might be the case, but they weren't any better than that Thursday night, and as a result Indiana has suffered back-to-back losses for just the second time during the Kelvin Sampson era.
M. White 1-2 0-0 2, D. White 7-13 8-10 22, Bassett 1-7 0-0 2, Gordon 6-14 2-2 16, Ellis 2-6 0-0 4, Thomas 0-1 0-0 0, Crawford 0-4 0-0 0, Ratliff 0-1 0-0 0, Stemler 1-6 0-0 3. Totals 18-54 10-12 49.
Landry 6-10 2-3 14, Butch 3-10 0-1 8, Hughes 3-15 9-10 16, Flowers 3-9 4-4 10, Krabbenhoft 2-3 2-5 6, Bohannon 1-7 2-2 4, Stiemsma 2-4 0-1 4. Totals 20-58 19-26 62.
3-Pointers: Indiana 3-21 (Gordon 2-7, Stemler 1-6, Bassett 0-5, Crawford 0-1, Ratliff 0-1, Ellis 0-1), Wisconsin 3-20 (Butch 2-3, Hughes 1-6, Bohannon 0-5, Flowers 0-4, Krabbenhoft 0-1, Landry 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 41 (D. White 17), Wisconsin 40 (Landry 11). Assists: Indiana 8 (Gordon 3), Wisconsin 10 (Krabbenhoft 5). Blocks: Indiana 3 (D. White, Ellis, Stemler), Wisconsin 2 (Stiemsma 2). Turnovers: Indiana 13, Wisconsin 6. Steals: Indiana 4, Wisconsin 6.
Dismal Start Does in Hoosiers, 62-49
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