Bloomington - Rivalry week for Tom Crean and the Hoosiers got off to a bad start Thursday night in Assembly Hall.
Wisconsin used a 13-0 run early in the second half to turn a one-point halftime lead into a double-digit cushion, and the Badgers cruised to a 68-51 win over the Hoosiers in Assembly Hall for their fifth win in a row.
While losses have been the norm for Indiana (6-19/1-12) this season, this game against Wisconsin (17-9/8-6) clearly meant a little bit more to Crean, who was going up against a familiar foe.
Crean has been on the job in Bloomington for nearly a year, but there's some history with the Badgers dating back to Crean's eight years at Marquette. The old rivalry appeared to fuel one of Wisconsin's players to direct some words at Crean on one of the game's first possessions, which in turn prompted the Hoosiers' coach to call official Tom O'Neill over and demonstratively tell him to instruct the Badger players to keep their comments to themselves.
But no level of fire and intensity from Crean could keep Wisconsin from winning games the way they usually do – by taking care of the basketball and the use a suffocating defense.
Wisconsin turned the ball only seven times, with two of those coming in the final two minutes after the starters had been taken out. The defense, meanwhile, limited Indiana to 5-of-18 shooting and 21 points in the second half.
That, coupled, with 21 points from Trevon Hughes and 18 from Joe Krabenhoft, was too much for Indiana.
"We really didn't do anything different (in the second half)," said Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan. "We did it better."
Indiana, meanwhile, did what it's done too many times this season. A very good half of basketball was squandered due to a lackluster effort in the second half.
After scoring 10 of his team-high 16 points in the first half, Verdell Jones knocked down a jumper on IU's opening second half possession to give Indiana a one-point lead, 33-32. But that basket was followed by a 10-minute field goal drought for the Hoosiers, and Wisconsin put together a 13-0, 6 ½ minute run to blow the game open.
In desperate need of someone to make a play to stop the Badgers' run, the Hoosiers found no one to turn to and the game quickly got out of hand.
The second half performance clearly left a bad taste in the mouth of Crean, who was unusually brief and during his postgame press conference.
"They played like a veteran club and we played like a bunch of rookies," Crean said. "That's the bottom line."
Back from a two-game suspension, Devan Dumes missed a pair of 3-pointers during Wisconsin's run and finished 1-of-6 from the floor for the game. Matt Roth, meanwhile, was blanketed by Jason Bohannon and didn't get off his first shot of the game until midway through the second half.
That attempt was a leaning, borderline desperation heave that missed the mark, and Roth's only other attempt came a minute later and went in-and-out….twice.
Roth finished with zero points in 28 minutes before having to leave with one minute left in the game with an apparent injury to his left side.
"We played (Roth) like we've played a lot of guys in the league," Ryan said. "Bohannon did a good job of moving his feet. But that's just 40 minutes. He'll be in Madison in a couple of weeks and we'll have to do it again. He's a heck of a shooter."
With neither Roth nor Dumes connecting from the perimeter, Indiana managed only two 3-pointers for the game. Indiana also committed 15 turnovers, which resulted in a 20-11 edge for the Badgers in points off turnovers.
"We have to play – I don't' want to say a perfect game, but we have to play close to a perfect game in the sense of not making mental errors, we need to be physical, we need to execute better, and we have to do that more often than the opponent does," Crean said. "When we don't, things like tonight can happen."
What happened tonight clearly wasn't sitting well with Crean or his team, which has to turn around and depart for West Lafayette tomorrow afternoon for a Saturday match-up with the Badgers. Despite the short turnaround, Crean wasn't necessarily ready to turn the page on Thursday's 17-point loss.
"I don't want them to forget what it feels like in any of these games," Crean said, "because I'm not forgetting."
Pritchard 2-5 0-1 4, Taber 1-2 2-2 4, Roth 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 7-14 2-5 16, Dumes 1-6 9-9 12, Moore 0-1 0-0 0, Finkelmeier 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 1-3 2-2 4, Lewis 0-1 00 0, Story 5-8 0-0 11. Totals 17-42 15-19 51.
Landry 4-7 1-1 9, Leuer 2-5 2-2 7, Hughes 7-14 4-4 21, Bohannon 2-7 1-2 6, Krabbenhoft 7-11 3-4 18, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 02 0-0 0, Valentyn 0-0 0-0 0, Cain 0-0 0-0 0, Jarmusz 2-3 0-0 5, Wilson 1-1 0-0 2, Gullikson 0-1 0-2 0, Nankivil 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-51 11-15 68.
3-Pointers: Indiana 2-11 (Dumes 1-4, Story 1-4, Roth 0-2, Jones 0-1), Wiconsin 7-14 (Hughes 3-6, Bohannon 1-4, Krabbenhoft 1-1, Jarmusz 1-2). Rebounds: Indiana 28 (Pritchard 5, Williams 5), Wisconsin 28 (Hughes 5, Krabbenhoft 5). Assists: Indiana 6 (Jones 3), Wisconsin 9 (Hughes 4). Turnovers: Indiana 15, Wisconsin 7. Blocks: Indiana 1, Wisconsin 0. Steals: Indiana 1, Wisconsin 5. Attendance: 14,669. Officials: Tom O'Neill, Rick Hartzell, John Higgins.
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