Grades: Offense Destroys Weak Hoosier 'D'

Jordan Taylor poured in a career high 28 points Thursday as the Badgers took down Indiana 69-60 at the Kohl Center.

MADISON — Despite trailing for more than half the game, Wisconsin's 69-60 victory over Indiana never seemed in doubt Thursday, as the veteran squad withstood some hot shooting before eventually overpowering a young Indiana team.

Jordan Taylor, the leading scorer in Big Ten play poured in a career high 28 points and Jon Leuer reached 20 points for the eighth time this season.

It was the seventh straight win over Indiana and tenth straight at home for Wisconsin and boosted UW's record in the Big Ten to 4-2.

Offense: A- — The only reason Wisconsin doesn't score an "A+" is this grade comes with a curve.

And seriously, going up against Indiana's paltry defense wrecks the curve. The Hoosiers have some exciting offensive players, but play defense like a bottom of the barrel ACC team.

Wisconsin shot 49 percent from the field, went 16-for-17 from the free throw line and averaged a stellar 1.23 points per possession. Jordan Taylor dominated all 40 minutes long, finishing with a career high 28 points (9-of-15 shooting), while knocking down three 3-pointers and all seven of his free throw attempts. Jon Leuer did his usual damage with 20 points, while Keaton Nankivil chipped in nine points on four shots.

The Badgers also converted five old-school three-pointers, none more crucial than Leuer's eight-foot bank with exactly 1:00 minute remaining in the game, putting UW up seven and driving the proverbial dagger deep into the Hoosiers metaphorical heart.

Cool as usual, Wisconsin turned the ball over just five times against 12 assists.

The games most exciting moment came early in the second half when sophomore Mike Bruesewitz, apparently deciding that he was sick of missing layups, threw down a one-handed dunk while getting fouled over the back. That makes three Badgers who can dunk in a game.

Defense: B — Yes the Hoosiers shot 51 percent from the floor, but that number is misleading.

Indiana picked up just four assists on 25 made field goals and went to the free throw line only 11 times. That would seem to suggest they were merely a hot shooting team that couldn't sustain the jumper barrage for the entire game.

The 1.10 points per possession is strong though, and as Bo Ryan says, there is always more you can correct on defense.

The Badgers gave up a few easy dribble penetration buckets early — particularly from the crafty scorer Jordan Hulls. After the opening barrage UW calmed down, however, and let Indiana cool off before taking a permanent lead.

Coaching: A — Walk-on senior Wquinton Smith came off the bench to defend Hulls and did a superb job, almost matching minutes any time Hulls was on the floor. His pestering defense Jordan Taylor sees in practice every day was on full display, teaching freshman Josh Gasser about the level of dedication needed on a hot scorer.

Overall: A- — Playing down for nearly 2/3 of the game, UW just went about their business and steadily took over the lead as Indiana's shooting cooled off. Taylor and Leuer are just in a different class of player, and the Hoosiers had no answer other than shaking their heads each time another bucket dropped.

The win may have been closer than expected, but it was a nice experience victory playing behind for much of the contest. Throw in a 94 percent free throw clip, and UW's poise defies superlatives for this game.


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