MADISON – Wisconsin’s chances to win a Big Ten title entered the evening on life support.
Senior Bronson Koenig scored 19 points but his jumper from the free throw line to send the game to overtime ended up short and sent the Badgers to their fifth loss in the last six games.
The loss officiating eliminates Wisconsin (22-8, 11-6 Big Ten) from having a chance to earn a share of the regular season conference title, a race it led by 1.5 games just 19 days ago.
Returning to the friendly confines of the Kohl Center did nothing for Wisconsin in the opening 20 minutes. Scoreless for 10 straight possessions, covering 6:42 at the tail end of the half, the Badgers’ failures to get to the free throw line (1-for-3), convert at the rim and get any production from their bench (zero points in 23 minutes).
All of that started to change in the second half. Nigel Hayes started attacking more and got opportunities at the line, the Badgers registered 14 points in the paint in second half and Jordan Hill’s steal and slam dunk with 7:32 remaining gave the Badgers a 49-45 lead. Hill also corralled a critical offensive rebound on a possession that led to a Zak Showalter 3-pointer and a 56-47 lead with 4:15 remaining.
Things tightened up considerably shortly after that. An 9-1 run cut the Wisconsin lead to one with 1:35 remaining, and after Ethan Happ missed a pair of free throws with 30.5 seconds left, Bohannon – who was 0-for-3 from the perimeter in the second half – buried a 3-pointer from the left wing that stunned the building.
Although Happ (11), Showalter (11) and Hayes (10) finished in double figures, free throw shooting again killed Wisconsin, UW went 5-for-14 from the line. Happ went 1-for-7.
Nicholas Baerr scored 14 points to lead Iowa (17-13, 9-8), which won despite getting little offense from senior Peter Jok. Ranked fourth among Power Five conference players in scoring (20.6), Jok managed only eight points on 2-for-10 shooting, resulting in holding the league’s second-best scoring offense (77.3) to its lowest point total since Jan.25. It didn’t matter in the end.
Wisconsin closes the regular season at home against Minnesota (23-7, 11-6) Sunday.
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