Game Day Grades: No.15 Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa - No.16 Wisconsin isn't letting a Big Ten title slip away without a fight, as the Badgers battled back in the second half to earn a 79-74 victory at No.15 Iowa Saturday afternoon. BadgerNation hands out the grades.

Offense: A

Wisconsin's shooters started out hot yet again, going on a 17-4 run in the first half after two quick turnovers put them down 5-0. They cooled off a bit in the second half, though, but overcame an Iowa comeback to earn another impressive road victory.

There was production all over the floor Saturday, as the Badgers shot 30-for-63 from the floor (47.6 percent) overall and 11-for-13 at the free throw line (84.6 percent).

Frank Kaminsky led the way again, scoring 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting while adding seven rebounds. Kaminsky took advantage of the Hawkeyes missing big man, Melsahn Basabe, who only played one game because of an illness.

Sam Dekker was effective scoring in the first half, only attempted four shots in the second half but still recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Josh Gasser only took five shots, but made them count by hitting four, including a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired that gave UW a 69-68 lead.

Bronson Koenig made up for Ben Brust's 1-for-7 shooting night by scoring a career-high 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and added two assists. Nigel Hayes came off the bench to score seven points, but was limited to 19 minutes based on hesitant play.

Iowa put more pressure on the Badgers in the second half, putting on a three quarters court press, which forced UW into a few turnovers. The Hawkeyes also used a 2-3 zone that the Badgers had a hard time getting through until Kaminsky started opening up the middle of the floor.

UW attacked the offensive glass well, pulling down 13 compared to Iowa's 11. Wisconsin turned the ball over twice on its first two possessions – which was more than it did against Michigan – and finished with nine.

Defense: B+

Iowa was down 40-31 at halftime until making a charge to start out the second half based of the Badgers defense and UW's offense missing its first six shots from the field. The Hawkeyes shot 17-for-31 (54.8 percent) in the second half and 48.4 percent for the game.

Big Ten player of the year candidate Roy Devyn Marble had a double-double, scoring 21 points and adding 11 assists, but shot just 8-for-19 from the field as UW made him work for production. Wisconsin took advantage of new starter Zach McCabe, who played in place of Basabe, by forcing him to foul out late in the game, finishing with no points and two rebounds. Aaron White was also held to a season-low four points on 2-for-5 shooting because of tight defense by Gasser and Co.

The Badgers held the Hawkeyes to just four 3-pointers on 14 attempts. UW also played relatively clean, committing just 13 fouls and only sent Iowa to the free throw line nine times in the game.

Wisconsin was able to outrebound the Hawkeyes, 35-33, a nice turnaround after giving up 42 rebounds in the first meeting.

Overall: A-

Playing on the road is always difficult in the Big Ten, but Wisconsin has come up big when it matters most. UW is now 7-2 in true road games and has won four straight dating back to its win at Purdue Jan.25.

While the offense tapered off a little bit at the start of the second half, the Badgers went back to what was working – scoring in the post on drives and entry passes. Kaminsky played a major factor again and almost had his second double-double in as many games. Dekker was efficient from the inside and out and while he didn't produce on the offensive end as much in the second half, he still played strong defense.

Bronson Koenig provided a spark off the bench in his 23 minutes, which was necessary with Brust and Traevon Jackson struggling. Having Koenig hit shots helped out Wisconsin by adding a third productive player off the bench to help Duje Dukan (seven minutes and two points) and Nigel Hayes (19 minutes, seven points).

Wisconsin was able to score quickly when it needed to, but also ran a lot of the shot clock in the final few minutes because of strong Iowa defense. But the Badgers found ways to get stops and key baskets when they needed to from Koenig, Gasser and Kaminsky down the stretch to retake the lead.

Game MVP: Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky was clutch down the stretch, providing the Badgers with a big post presence yet again. When UW went inside to Kaminsky it was successful, including the go-ahead basket with under 40 seconds to play. With the postseason just around the corner, the Badgers are getting their low post presence clicking at just the right time.

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