Game Day Grades: Iowa

MADISON - A tale of two halves went No.4 Wisconsin's way, as the Badgers' second-half turnaround allowed them to storm back against the cold-shooting, hot-tempered Iowa Hawkeyes Sunday night at the Kohl Center. BadgerNation hands out the grades.

Offense: C-

Wisconsin struggled to sustain rhythm offensively against Iowa. The Badgers shot 20-for-53 (37.7 percent) from the floor and the Hawkeyes disrupted anything Wisconsin tried on offense, including contesting shots or passes.

Iowa was able to force Wisconsin into 12 turnovers, seven of which came from Traevon Jackson, who made multiple egregious plays with the basketball. At times Jackson didn't look where he was passing the basketball and it resulted in easy turnovers for the Hawkeyes.

After failing to score against Northwestern, Josh Gasser had a nice bounce-back game scoring 14 points. Ben Brust led Wisconsin with 19 points, all of which came in the second half when the Badgers forged ahead by shooting 12-for-23 (52.2 percent). Frank Kaminsky and Jackson each chipped in nine points.

The Badgers struggled to get any offense going in the first half. After knocking down their first shot of the game, the Badgers went on an eight-minute field goal drought. Wisconsin was able to close the gap to one at one point, but Iowa was able to get the lead back to 11 at halftime.

Despite shooting the basketball so poorly, Wisconsin managed to get to the free throw line 35 times, knocking down 25 of them and going 16-for-19 over the final 12 minutes. Nigel Hayes continues to get to the free throw line at a high rate. He continued to look for ways to get to the line, and finished the game 6-for-10 from the free throw line.

Dekker had a terrible night from the field, finishing 2-for-12, but made a couple big 3-point plays late to preserve the win.

Defense: D+

Wisconsin had no answer for Roy Devyn Marble and his 27 points, as Marble showed he could score in multiple ways inside and outside. Besides Marble having success, Aaron White was able to find success in the low post with 13 points.

Even though Iowa shot 39.1 percent from the field, the Badgers made it too easy at times for the Hawkeyes on offense, especially in the first half. In the first half, Iowa shot 46.9 percent and were able to get the basketball consistently down low, getting a handful of unchallenged looks against Wisconsin.

Wisconsin did a much better job of contesting shots in the second half to finish the game with six blocks. Kaminsky had four blocks and Dekker added two.

At times during the game, Wisconsin would commit avoidable fouls but managed to stay disciplined enough down the stretch. Duje Dukan, Gasser and Hayes were all playing with four fouls late into the game.

Overall: C-

Wisconsin was able to make the plays they needed to down the stretch after they took the lead for good following Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery's ejected for arguing and contact with an official. Brust was able to knock down all four of the technical free throws, which proved to be an important four points in the game.

Despite being outplayed by Iowa in the first half and with the Hawkeyes being able to answer any run by Wisconsin, the Badgers were able to keep their composure throughout and kept chipping away at the lead.

Even though Iowa outrebounded the Badgers 42-to-35, Wisconsin was able to come up with a few key rebounds down the stretch. What hurt UW in the game was the Hawkeyes collecting 16 offensive rebounds, 23 second-chance points and getting outscored 36-12 in the paint. With the way Iowa's offense was operating, the Badgers couldn't allow Iowa too many second-chance opportunities. They were fortunate Iowa missed many easy looks in the paint in the second half.

Jackson needs to do a much better job of taking care of the basketball, as seven turnovers is way too many, and to consider how he turned the ball over is unacceptable. Iowa was able to play good defense at times on Jackson but there were times where Jackson was simply careless with the basketball.

In the second half with Wisconsin trying to make a comeback, Jackson saw an open Dekker streaking to the bucket and he tried an alley-oop pass. Had Dekker not skied to touch the ball, the pass may have landed in the fourth row. Jackson played too fast and hurt UW with his ball handling.

For the second straight game Wisconsin received good production from the bench. Bronson Koenig, Hayes and Dukan were able to combine for 16 points. As he has been the last four games Hayes has remained aggressive and Dukan was able to use his length on the defensive end (team-high seven rebounds) and was able to knock down his free throws, not to mention a critical 3-pointers.

Game MVP: Ben Brust. Like he did against Northwestern, Brust failed to score in the first half before finding a nice rhythm in the second. Brust went 5-for-6 from the field and hit all three of his threes in the second half. Brust was also able to knock down all six of his free throws. Not only did he play the entire second half but also did a great job of keeping care of the basketball with zero turnovers, while dishing out two assists in the game.

Badger Nation Top Stories