The Wisconsin offense was once again efficient and effective, clicking on all cylinders in finishing the game 29-for-59 (49.2 percent) from the field. Despite shooting close to 50 percent in the game, the Badgers did struggle a little in the first half from the field, shooting 39.3 percent on 28 shot attempts, but shot a blistering 58.1 percent from the field in the second half.
Four Badgers finished the game in double figures with Sam Dekker leading the way with 17 points in 28 minutes. Nigel Hayes had 16 points on 5-for-9 shooting, Frank Kaminsky and Bronson Koenig each finished the game with 13 points. It was Koenig’s third straight game in double digits.
The most impressive stat that Wisconsin fans will take away is only committing one turnover (a shot-clock violation in the second half) against a team entering the game forcing opponents into 14 turnovers a game. It’s also impressive when you consider that Iowa was playing press defense at times and forced Wisconsin to make long passes to an open teammate. The Badgers never caved to the pressure.
Iowa’s pressure defense did result in a handful of fouls, which sent Wisconsin to the free throw line 19 times (resulting in 15 makes). The Badgers found ways of being aggressive down low and forcing both Adam Woodbury and Gabriel Olaseni into committing three fouls each. Hayes led Wisconsin in going 6-for-8 in the game. Kaminsky and Dekker each shot four free throw attempts and Koenig went 2-for-2 in his first free throw attempts since the Buffalo game.
Iowa did play zone at times but the Badgers capitalized by going 9-for-22 from 3-point range, including 6-for-14 in the first half to help open up the lead by hitting 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions by three different players (Kaminsky, Koenig and Gasser). UW led by 9 points after that barrage, Iowa called a timeout to try to cool UW and the Badgers never looked back.
As good as Wisconsin’s offense was, the Badgers’ defense was particularly good in the first half, which helped them build an 18-point lead after 20 minutes. Wisconsin was able to hold Iowa to 28 percent on 7-for-25 shooting from the field and 17 first half points. The 17 points marked the fifth time the Badgers held one of their opponents below 20 points in the first half. Iowa was able to turn things around in the second half, shooting 61.9 percent from the field, which helped lift their shooting average to 43.5 percent on 20-for-46 shooting.
Besides containing an effective shooting team, Wisconsin held Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff in check for the majority of the game. Uthoff was the only player for Iowa to reach double digits (12 points) but achieved that by scoring four points in the final 90 seconds with the starters on the bench.
Containing White to just seven points on 2-for-5 shooting is a good night for UW’s defense. White ranked in the top ten in scoring average in the Big Ten and Dekker, amongst other players, did a good job of challenging his attempts. Iowa was able to use screens on offense to help create mismatches, but if there was a guard on White, UW did a good job of fronting the post down low against him, helping negate the passing lane. White didn’t notch his first field goal till the 5:30 mark in the first half, and UW joined Michigan State as the only Big Ten teams to hold White to single digits.
Iowa only committed nine team turnover, six of which came off of Badger steals (Dekker led the team with two thefts), but the Badgers were able to find ways of creating the Hawkeyes miscues into 11 points. Even if Wisconsin couldn’t force a mistake, they consistently supplied the pressure on defense and it showed, as White clearly didn’t seem comfortable when he had the basketball.
But even with Wisconsin playing an aggressive defense, they remained disciplined and didn’t commit any unnecessary fouls, finishing the game with nine whistles. With Wisconsin staying disciplined throughout, Iowa only attempted 10 free throws, which they converted into just four points.
From start to finish Wisconsin put on a demonstration of effective basketball on both ends of the floor, resulting in a 32-point victory that was the largest over a Big Ten opponent since a 32-point win over Northwestern in 2011. There were a lot of things to be happy with what Bo Ryan saw from his team, as he was able to get production from his starters and the bench.
The bench scored all 17 of its points in the second half, and 15 of the 17 points came from the top three off the bench. Duje Dukan led the way with eight points, Zak Showalter had five and Vitto Brown and Aaron Moesch each had two.
Not only was holding White to a season-low seven points impressive but also winning the rebounding battle in the manner they did was good to see. Iowa came in to Madison ranked first in offensive rebounds but the Badgers’ length held them to only six, less than half their season total of 13.1 a game. Iowa has done well this year in trying to establish the paint but the effectiveness of Kaminsky and Hayes boxing out the frontcourt helped UW win the boards 37-24. Iowa could only score 12 points in the paint and had to settle for perimeter jump shots. On the flip side, Wisconsin scored 36 points in the paint, making Iowa’s interior look foolish.
Game MVP: Frank Kaminsky. The entire team was impressive but Kaminsky again contributed in every little aspect of the game. Not only did he finish with his fourth double-double of Big Ten play and his eighth of the season (13 points, 11 rebounds) he also led Wisconsin with six assists and had a block. Throughout the game Kaminsky was looking for an open teammate to pass the ball to if his shot wasn’t there and displayed good court vision in finding an open teammate on a cut to the basket. Kaminsky continues to show that he can still have an impact on the game even if isn’t as UW’s leading scorer.