Statement Made

Who is doubting Bo Ryan and Wisconsin now? Unranked but alone in the first place, the Badgers get four players in double figures and answer every one of No.2 Indiana's punches in the second half to walk out of Assembly Hall with a 64-59 victory Tuesday night.

Although the noise in Assembly Hall was deafening down the stretch, as a rowdy sellout crowd was trying to will its team back into the game, Wisconsin senior forward Mike Bruesewitz wanted to make sure his teammates heard him in the huddles.

He wasn't barking out instructions as much as he was telling the guys on the floor how much he "loves this stuff."

After the seasoning Wisconsin's youth has had in weathering the ups and downs, it was time for the Badgers to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Wisconsin got four players in double figures, made all the clutch plays down the stretch, including 4-for-6 from Bruesewitz at the free throw line, and never winced when No.2 Indiana made its run, a big reason the Badgers pushed their winning streak to seven with a 64-59 victory over the Hoosiers Tuesday night.

The win for Wisconsin (13-4, 4-0 Big Ten) is large on a number of fronts. It's the first win for Wisconsin over a team ranked No.2 on the road in school history and first road win over a top five team since 1980. It also extends a couple of Wisconsin's historic streaks over the Hoosiers, as the Badgers have now won 11 straight over Indiana (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) and five straight at Assembly Hall.

Above all else, it was a statement win that put Wisconsin – currently unranked – alone in first place in the loaded Big Ten.

"It was a gut check for us," said UW coach Bo Ryan, who tied legendary UCLA coach John Wooden for 38th place on the NCAA's all-time win list (664). "We played like junkyard dogs."

With a little bit of grit and a big step forward on the learning curve, Wisconsin made the big plays down the stretch away from home, something that had slipped away from them three previous times this season.

Wisconsin didn't make a field goal in the final 2:25, but it didn't matter with the Badgers clamping down defensively and limiting Indiana to 25 percent (2-for-8) over that same time period and an ugly 26.7 percent in the second half (37 percent overall).

Averaging a nation's best 87.1 points per game and the only Big Ten team to have five players average over 11 points, only Cody Zeller (21 points) and Christian Watford (11) hit the mark, as UW held Jordan Hulls – the Nation's leading 3-point shooter at 52.5 percent – to four points with no three-pointers and Will Sheehey (11.4 ppg) to zero off the bench.

Wisconsin's outscored Indiana's bench 16-2 and committed only eight turnovers, helping make up for 37-28 disadvantage on the boards.

"From start to finish this is as good as it gets," said associate head coach Greg Gard. "Guys did an unbelievable job of following the scouting report to a tee … In terms of following a game plan, it may be as good as any group I have been around in terms of doing exactly what we needed to do to come in here and win."

Wisconsin answered the bell offensively and defensively, especially in the second half against Zeller and his 16.6 points per game.

A perfect 8-for-8 in the first half, Zeller scored 18 of Indiana's 32 points and bailed out a Hoosiers' team that shot 5-for-20 without his production. He wasn't nearly as productive in the second half, missing his first six shots from the field as the Badgers clamped down defensively.

"We let him get going," said Gard of Zeller, who didn't make his first second-half basket until there was 16.1 remaining. "We played him too tight on the perimeter early in the first half and was able to drive around us … Playing him a little smaller might have bothered him because we were a little quicker, as well. Playing with a lead helped because we were able to stretch possessions out a little bit."

Wisconsin built that lead early in the second half when Wisconsin went on a 6-2 to take the lead for good after Zeller went out at 15:13. When he returned, Mike Bruesewitz hit a long three-pointer to put the Badgers up 47-39 (the eight-point deficit was the largest the Hoosiers had faced all season).

The lead grew to 10 when Indiana went almost six minutes without a field goal and 3:35 without a point. But just as Wisconsin's offense was the catalyst for building its lead, it was also its preventer.

Going 7:40 between field goals and 3:28 without a point, Indiana went on a 10-1 run to cut the lead to 52-51 with 4:43 remaining.

But junior guard Ben Brust hit a vital baseline jumper after securing an offensive rebound to halt the skid and Ryan Evans – team-high 13 points – hit a tough turnaround jumper on the next possession to extend the lead back to three. Indiana never got closer than four the rest of the way with Wisconsin making six of its final eight free throws.

"For our guys to come in here and come out on the left hand side, it speaks volumes of the type of young men that we have," said Ryan. "You got to make some shots at the end. You got to hit some free throws."

Wisconsin handled Indiana's full court pressure down the stretch, committing just two turnovers in the final eight minutes.

Credit for that poise goes to sophomore Traevon Jackson, who backed up his career-high 14 points against Illinois Saturday with 11 points (5-for-5 from the free throw line), two assists and only two turnovers before fouling out in the final minute.

"They were going to try and speed us up, attack our younger guards and try to rattle them a little bit," said Gard. "(Trae) played with such composure, such moxie before fouling out. That kid has come a long way here in a couple months."

Seven different players scored for Wisconsin in the first half, but none seemed to provide a bigger lift than Frank Kaminksy. Missing Monday's practice because of an illness, Kaminsky came in off the bench to hit three-pointer on consecutive possessions to give Wisconsin a 22-18 lead.

One possession later, Kaminsky got gouged in the left eye after Will Sheehey badly missed his attempt to bat the ball upcourt. He was ruled out at halftime.

But even without its leading halftime scorer, being out rebounded 21-10 and having Zeller be flawless, Wisconsin still managed to trail by one after making six of its first 10 shots, turning and outscoring Indiana's bench 11-2.

"It hasn't always been pretty times but I think the group is moving in the right direction," said Gard. "This was a huge statement for us."

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