Second-half swoon brings Badgers to defeat

Wisconsin was en route to victory, but let its lead slip away in the second half. A 12-0 run from Indiana—sparked by success in the paint—brought the Badgers to their first loss of the season.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Not long after the final buzzer and storming of the court, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was asked about the sequence that vaulted Indiana past the previously-unbeaten Badgers.

The reporter posed the question mistaken with Wisconsin's largest lead. Ryan quickly interjected.

"Ten," said Ryan, referring to the Badgers' 52-42 second-half margin they held with more than 13 minutes remaining.

This was Wisconsin's chance to soar away with an important road victory, keeping its undefeated record intact. But fresh out of a timeout, Indiana rallied behind a 12-0 run and stole the lead. This was fresh on Ryan's mind.

"Six or seven possessions in a row," Ryan continued. "When you're on the road, you can't do that."

It started with a jumper from Evan Gordon, then continued with Will Sheehey's uncontested layup. After a missed three-pointer from Wisconsin's Bronson Koenig, the Hoosiers' Stanford Robinson sprinted to the bucket for a layup which brought the Badgers' lead down to four.

"They were getting easy buckets," said Wisconsin senior guard Ben Brust. They were taking it in transition, getting right through us, finishing their layups, and we couldn't get the ball to go down."

The Badgers failed to connect on six shots during this four-and-a-half-minute stretch, with five of those misses coming from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers stayed hot.

Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell cut the deficit down to two with a jumper in the paint, drawing a foul in the process. His miss went directly to freshman forward Noah Vonleh who tipped it in to tie the game at 52 apiece.

Following yet another Wisconsin missed three-pointer, Vonleh hit a layup to put Indiana back on top. The Hoosiers went from dead in the water to riding the wave of momentum.

"That's college basketball," said Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser. "It's a game of runs. You just have to try to sustain the run when it happens. They hit a couple shots, the crowd got into it, they started feeling it and we did nothing to take them out of it."

During this run, Indiana received 10 of its 12 points in the paint, part of an alarming trend for the Badgers. In the loss, Wisconsin allowed a season-high 52 points in the paint. This proved to be costly.

"We weren't tough enough or physical enough and they just got easy ones," Gasser said. "When the crowd gets into it, guys get more confident to attack. That's everyone's strength on that team."

Added Brust: "We gave up a lot of layups, dunks, stuff in transition and stuff we have to take away if we want to be successful. We'll see it [in the film session]; we're going to learn from it and try to get better."

The Badgers were on the brink of their 17th consecutive win, but let the lead slip away. For the first time this season, Wisconsin leaves the arena with a loss, plus plenty to improve.

"We're going to come together and try to get better as a team, move forward and learn from it," Brust said. "The best part about basketball is you have another one coming up. You've got to be ready to go."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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