Grades: Ugly Or Pretty, Wins Count The Same

Wisconsin clawed its way back to force overtime and prevailed in the extra session 62-59 at Iowa Wednesday. The Badgers recovered from 18 percent shooting in the first half

There are times when a basketball team needs to take something they simply don't deserve.

That was exactly the case Wednesday as Wisconsin stole a win at Iowa, 62-59 in overtime, despite being outshot 41 to 35 percent and trailing for the majority of the game.

UW could not buy, barter or even beg for a basket in the first half as Wisconsin shot 6-of-33 from the field, including 2-of-16 from three-point range. In the face of that, UW grabbed 16 offensive rebounds (12 in the first half) and made sure the horrendous shooting didn't bury them too early.

After the overtime failure at Michigan State, UW's resiliency on the road was impressive. Not all wins will look like Northwestern and Spartans beat downs the Badgers have provided in the past few weeks.

The normally-reserved Taylor showed his appreciation for the victory by releasing a pent-up roar as the final buzzer sounded, and thumping Josh Gasser so hard the freshman was knocked sideways.

Winning ugly can feel nice.

Offense: C

The grade is based upon the fact that UW averaged exactly one point per possession — dead average. They made up for abysmal shooting with superb work on the boards. Badger coach Bo Ryan said he was happy with "90 percent" of the first half shots, but after missing 14 three-pointers, it might be time to take the ball to the rim a bit more.

Neither Jon Leuer nor Jordan Taylor were efficient scoring wise, combining to go 14-for-38 with 34 points. Taylor was his usual self distributing the ball, handing out eight assists against just two turnovers.

Tim Jarmusz hit two huge three-pointers, the second in overtime acting as a life vest for a drowning Badger offense.

Unheralded once again, Gasser collected four assists and seven rebounds (three offensive), with the biggest of the night coming last with eight seconds remaining in overtime. He simply knows how to win.

Defense: B-

Four players scored in double-figures for the Hawkeyes as the balanced attack gave UW problems on switches. The Badgers were fortunate to be down only five at half time, with Iowa players missing three dunks in the first 20 minutes.

Almost completely forgoing the three (just seven attempts), Iowa attacked the paint on nearly every possession. Keaton Nankivil and Leuer did a nice job remaining upright, blocking three shots — along with several other alters — and picking up just one foul each.

Game MVP: Tim Jarmusz

Jarmusz tipped at least four balls in the first half and stole two of them. He doesn't bite on pump fakes, makes use of every inch of his six-foot-six frame and works hard in recovery to make up for his limited quickness. It was one of his best games of the season.

With a dreadful jump shot his junior and sophomore years, Jarmusz could almost be left unattended on the perimeter. Not any more.

He won't be leading the team in scoring anytime soon, but knocking down two-of-five treys Will do just fine.

And One

Ryan went to senior walk-on and sharpshooter Brett Valentyn after he grew frustrated with a Gasser missed three.

The move worked … kind of.

Valentyn helped UW claw its way back with a made three-pointer on his first possession, but is such a liability on defense with his lack of size and speed, that Iowa immediately went at him.

Overall: B

The win is greater than the sum of its parts — metaphorically of course.

Wisconsin shot 18 percent in the first half. Most teams just cannot come back from that.

But the Badgers kept their energy high and earned the win. As Leuer pointed out after the game, all 'W's' count the same.

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