A Painful Ending

It was likely going to end sometime for No.3 Wisconsin - undefeated through its first 16 games for the first time in program history - but the way it stopped was the biggest surprise, as the Badgers' allowed Indiana to dominate the paint in a 75-72 defeat at Assembly Hall Tuesday.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Josh Gasser knows Wednesday is going to be a long film session for him and his University of Wisconsin teammates.

That's because the junior knows that Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan is going to pull every basket that Indiana scored in the paint during their usual day-after film session.

Gasser better clear his class schedule, as the Badgers figure to be watching film for quite some time.

"I am sure Coach Ryan is going to point out every bucket they had in the paint, and they had a lot of them," said Gasser, as No.3 Wisconsin gave up drives to the bucket at ease in a 75-72 defeat to Indiana at Assembly Hall Tuesday. "We just didn't play well on the defensive end. That's the only way you can say it."

Wisconsin (16-1, 2-1 Big Ten) shot the lights out, finishing at 53.3 percent and put all five starters in double figures, but couldn't stop Indiana's post penetration or the Hoosiers' offense throughout the second half.

Indiana (12-5, 2-2) shot 51.6 percent from the field to counter UW and scored 69.3 percent of its points (52) in the paint on UW's interior lineup.

"We gave up a lot of layups and dunks and stuff in transition," said senior Ben Brust, as Wisconsin has given up 39.3 points in the low post the last three games. "Stuff we need to take away if we're going to be successful."

Traevon Jackson led Wisconsin with a season-high 21 points, but said the Badgers struggled contesting shots with the way Indiana's guards draw fouls and how the game was being officiated.

"That's something we have to make adjustments to, starting with me," said Jackson. "We have to get better at it and we have to adjust according to how the game is called."

Wisconsin was looking to tie the 2006-07 UW team for the longest win streak in the modern era, a streak that also ended in Assembly Hall. That '07 Hoosiers win also marked the last time Indiana had beaten Wisconsin, a span of 12 games that was tied for the longest losing streak Indiana had against any program.

It appeared like the dominance would continue opening stretch of the second half, thanks to Jackson. After playing only eight minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Jackson hit his first five shots in the half – seven straight overall - and scored 11 of UW's first 14 points in the half.

When Sam Dekker hit a 3-pointer with 13:28 left that capped a 17-8 run to start the half, a pin drop could be heard in the arena. It didn't stay that way for long.

Wisconsin went scoreless for the next 4:52, allowing the Hoosiers to rip off a 12-0 run to take its first lead since the opening three minutes.

"It was one of those moments where we have to realize what's not working for us and what is," said Jackson.

The run eventually ballooned to 19-5 and the Badgers never fully regained control, not with Indiana running through the Badgers in transition, staying aggressive and finishing at the hoop.

"We just wanted to transition and try to score in the first five, six seconds," said sophomore Yogi Ferrell, who finished with a game-high 25 points, albeit on 10-for-24 shooting. "We just wanted to keep attacking the rim. We noticed they weren't really helping off. We just wanted to go to the rim."

Wisconsin kept the game close the final 8:36, tying the game four more times and never trailing my more than five, but only managed four free throw attempts and didn't makes its first one until there was just over a minute remaining.

"That's troubling," said Gasser. "That's not what you want to hear. Usually when you do that you're going to lose the ball game."

The Badgers had a chance to tie in the final 18.5 seconds, but that was almost as disorganized as UW's post defense. Out of timeouts and down three, Jackson attempted a 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of 6-10 freshman Noah Vonleh that went off the front iron.

Gasser corralled the rebound and kicked it out to Brust in front of the UW bench, but Brust attempted an off-balanced attempt with 6.6 seconds left that had no chance. Indiana grabbed the rebound, dribbled out the clock and sent the students on to the court.

"I saw the ball was missed, went in for the offensive rebound, got a piece of it, I saw Josh was going to get it so I immediately thought about getting to the corner," said Brust. "I didn't know exactly where I was. If I would have known there was some time left, I could have dribbled it out and got a better look."

Starting the first half hot for the second straight game, Wisconsin hit its first seven shots from the field and had all five starters score during a stretch that included two 3-pointers and 10 points in the paint, eight coming from the guards.

The Badgers ended up shooting 57.1 percent in the first half and held the conference's best offensive rebounding team to three, but only led 35-34 based on the Hoosiers being able to repeatedly attack the basket and convert.

That yielded to a 51.7 percent shooting clip and many uncontested dunks, layups and opportunities that was foreshadowing of what was to come.

"We could have put ourselves in better positions defensively," said Brust. "On the ball, away from the ball, a little bit of everything. We did a good job of scraping but when you give up that many layups, it's not going to matter."

After accomplishing a lot of firsts for the program through the first nine weeks of the season, the Badgers will have to experience another first at home Saturday against Michigan: rebounding from a loss.

"I am excited to see," said Gasser. "We've got a different group of guys. I'm looking forward to it. We're going to get back to work. It sucks to lose, it sucks a lot, especially a Big Ten game like this, but we'll see what we're really made of come this week."


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