One word to describe the Wisconsin offense against Indiana would be efficient. The Badgers shot above 60 percent for a third time this season and the second time in Big Ten play, finishing 29-for-48 (60.4 percent) from the field. Although 40 of Wisconsin’s 92 points came in the paint, the Badgers were just as effective when it came from the 3-point arc in going 6-for-11 (54.5 percent) from three.
Wisconsin’s balanced across the offensive end resulted in balance scoring, as all five starters reached double figures in the same game for the first time this season. Two main reasons for Wisconsin’s paint dominance was Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes, who scored 23 and 16 points, respectively. More impressive about Hayes’ 16 points was that he was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and a near perfect 5-for-6 from the charity stripe in the ball game.
Bronson Koenig finished with a career-high 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting. It was Koenig’s fifth game in six starts reaching double figures. Sam Dekker finished the game with 14 points, 10 of which came in the second half, and Josh Gasser had 11 points.
Part of the reason Wisconsin was able to shoot at such a high rate was because the offense did well spacing the floor and finding open passing lanes. The Badgers registered 15 assists on the 29 made field goals and only committed six turnovers against the Hoosiers. Hayes and Koenig each led the team in turnovers as both had two turnovers in the game. Although two turnovers isn’t bad for Koenig, it is the first game this year where the sophomore has committed multiple miscues in the game.
Wisconsin’s high shooting percentage didn’t yield many second-chance opportunity. Wisconsin only had three offensive rebounds in the game, its lowest on the season, and had only four second-chance points.
It was an up-and-down performance for the defense, following up a good stretch by a mental lapse or not challenging shots. The Hoosiers shot 49.1 percent (28-for-57) from the floor, including 56 percent in the first half.
With Indiana leading the lead in 3-point shooting, the Badgers knew the Hoosiers were going to get production from the perimeter. At times Wisconsin allowed the Hoosiers to consistently get open, as half of their points came from the 3-point line (39). Indiana knocked down 13-of-24 from beyond the arc, and Nick Zeisloft’s team-high five 3-pointers helped him lead the team with 17 points.
Outside of Zeisloft, all four of Indiana’s other starters reached double figures. Robert Johnson was second to Zeisloft with 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting, Troy Williams had 14 points and Yogi Ferrell - the Hoosiers’ second-leading scorer - was held to 13 points on 15 shot attempts. Gasser did a good job of defending Ferrell, as the junior guard was able to register over 20 points in the last two matchups against Wisconsin.
Even though Wisconsin allowed Indiana to score 39 points from three, the Hoosiers were able to score 24 points in the paint, 16 coming in the second half when Indiana’s front court managed to just slip by and get an easy layup. Before the mental lapses started to happen late in the second half, Wisconsin showed that they were able to contest, block or alter Indiana’s shot, as Wisconsin finished the game with a Big Ten season-high six blocks. All five starters were able to record a block, with Kaminsky leading the way with two.
This was a game where Wisconsin could have won by at least 20 points after playing the first 10 minutes of the second half perfectly. It felt that when Wisconsin got up by 32, the Badgers seemed to just lose interest, allowing the Hoosiers to shoot their way back into the game with 3-pointers. Indiana was able to make five of its 13 3-point shots in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Even though Wisconsin did allow Indiana to cut the deficit in half, the lead never got to single digits.
The bench for Wisconsin was able to produce 13 points, all of which came in the second half. Duje Dukan had four points and Zak Showalter had a career-high nine points. Showalter in particular was impressive, as this was his best game since seeing a jump in his minutes. There were three plays in particular that Bo Ryan will be pleased with.
The first one was Hayes had the basketball down low with his back to the basket and was stuck with his options. Showalter was able to cut to the rim and Hayes was able to lay an impressive pass on him, which Showalter was able to catch and convert on an athletic lay up while being fouled. It resulted in a three-point play.
The second and third plays both came off of Showalter steals, cutting off the passing lanes both times. On the first of two steals, he had a two-on-one advantage with Dukan. As Showalter got closer to the hoop, he faked a pass to Dukan, went up hard with the ball, draw the foul while making the layup and made the free throw.
He did nearly the same thing on the second steal by faking the pass, drawing a foul on a made bucket and hitting the free throw for the three-point play. Showalter showed intelligence on both of his defensive steals, was able to be aggressive and did a great job of causing his defender into fouling him while he was making an impressive layup.Showalter wasn’t the only player for Wisconsin to have success getting to the foul line as the Badgers made the free throw line a place where they visited frequently. Wisconsin got to the free throw line 31 times and hit 28 free throws.
Even if Wisconsin did have mental lapses on defense, UW still managed to force Indiana into 11 turnovers. Four of the five starters for Indiana had two or more turnovers, and three of the 11 turnovers came off of steals. Those led to 16 points for Wisconsin.
Game MVP: Frank Kaminsky. It was expected that Kaminsky was going to have success against Indiana when you consider the serious height advantage he had over his defenders. Kaminsky’s 23 points were his third straight game with at least 20, and with his height advantage, he didn’t need to attempt a 3-point shot, as all of his points came around the hoop. Kaminsky shot 9-for-12 from the field, consistently drew fouls to get to the line and went 5 of 7 from the line.
Although Indiana was able to out rebound Wisconsin (25-to-22), Kaminsky tied with Dekker with six rebounds and did a good job of boxing out his man. Outside of shooting and being able to defend the paint, Kaminsky was able to tie Hayes for the team lead with three and finished with no turnovers.