Notes: Can Badgers Win Game Of Horse?

Bo Ryan threatened Mike Bruesewitz with a haircut after the sophomore forward badly missed a three-point attempt in Wednesday's 62-59 victory over Iowa.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Wisconsin Badgers didn't become the nation's most efficient offense by bricking 82 percent of their shots.

That's exactly what the 14th-ranked Badgers did in the first half against Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, when the missed shots fell faster than February's snowflakes and Iowa enjoyed a 23-18 lead heading into the locker room.

Of course, Wisconsin used its resolve to steady itself in the locker room, and the southwest basket became much kinder to the Badgers, who shot 52 percent in the second half and overtime.

"Can't get any worse," UW senior forward Jon Leuer said. "You just keep grinding and keep playing defense, and eventually you'll knock some shots down."

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan opened his postgame press conference with his patented dry sense of sarcasm to explain how his team missed 27 of 33 shots in the first 20 minutes.

"It really upset me in the first half when I heard some Iowa students behind us taking in money for a collection to play H-O-R-S-E against our guys in the first half," Ryan said, referring to the popular playground game. "I thought that was pretty clever."

Even while UW was scuffling offensively, it ensured none of Iowa's big guns - Matt Gatens, Melsahn Basabe or Bryce Cartwright - could find a prolonged zone, keeping the game close until the Badgers righted themselves.

"We weren't hitting shots," Ryan said, "but we didn't get disjointed defensively."

Wisconsin entered Wednesday with an NCAA pacesetting 1.20 points per possession mark, but mustered under a point per possession against the Hawkeyes (0.98).

No, not the hair!

Sophomore Mike Bruesewitz took only one 3-pointer, and it missed the rim by so much, the official scorer likely had to decide whether it was an off-target pass.

Ryan playfully poured it on his young forward with the Sideshow Bob-style hairdo.

"He passed the ball ... to the official," Ryan joked of the shot attempt.

He wasn't done.

"Whew. Did somebody open the doors upstairs when he shot that one? I've seen misses before, but wow."

And one last jab.

"Haircut time."

More possessions

How exactly did UW climb back into Wednesday's game? Lots and lots of shots, created by second-chance opportunities and a lack of turnovers.

The most careful team in the country (7.8 turnovers per game) had only 8 Wednesday, including two in the second half and overtime. Point guard Jordan Taylor, who played 44 of a possible 45 minutes, recorded eight assists against just two turnovers.

"Taking care of the ball saved us again," Ryan said, "and who's responsible for that? Jordan Taylor."

Credit the bigs, too. Wisconsin's 16 offensive rebounds - 12 in the first half - marks its highest output since the season opener against Prairie View A&M, though the Badgers produced just seven second-chance points.

Cooling off Herky

Iowa, coming off victories over Michigan State and Indiana, came into Wednesday's game on its first winning streak since Dec. 21 and first of any kind this season involving Big Ten competition.

After further review

Freshman Josh Gasser's first-half heave from near midcourt swished through the net, but an official waved it off on a 35-second violation despite one second appearing to remain on the shot clock.

Ryan pleaded for a review, but was informed instant replay could only be utilized for "timing errors."

Hello, J-Bo

In the bowels of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, former UW guard Jason Bohannon showed up to congratulate Brett Valentyn, Tim Jarmusz and J.P. Gavinski, while also receiving a hug from Ryan.

Bohannon, a Linn-Mar prep from nearby Marion, Iowa, was routinely booed in each of his three appearances in Carver-Hawkeye.

No Brust

Speaking of Bohannon, if the Badgers had made Wednesday's game more of a rout, freshman Ben Brust might have played and likely would have learned exactly what Bohannon heard every time he played in front of Iowa fans: ear-splitting boos.

Brust originally committed to play for Iowa in July 2009, before his senior year at Mundelein (Ill.). But following former IU coach Todd Lickliter's firing, Brust sought and received a release from his Iowa letter of intent in April 2010, before accepting a Badgers scholarship a few weeks later.


UW's win pushes its all-time record against its rival from the Heartland to 77 wins and 76 losses, with the Badgers winning 13 of the last 15 clashes. This is their only meeting of the regular season.

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