Turnovers and free throws is what cost Wisconsin a victory. The Badgers were able to successfully climb back from a seven-point halftime deficit and build a lead as large as nine at 56-47 with 3:46 to go. But over that final stretch, Wisconsin could only muster one point as it finished 0-for-3 from the field, 1-for-4 from the free throw line and committed three turnovers that led to four Iowa points.
Wisconsin’s final three turnovers came over the last 2:40 of the game, two coming off of Wisconsin’s inability to inbound the basketball against Iowa’s press. Due to that combination, Wisconsin’s lead quickly dissipated into a one-point lead with 1:36 to go and momentum clearly in Iowa’s favor.
Zak Showalter was responsible for Wisconsin’s final point of the game when he hit one of two free throws following a flagrant one being called on Peter Jok when the two battled during an Iowa offensive possession. With Wisconsin clinging to a 57-56 lead, Ethan Happ was able to grab a rebound off of a missed 3-pointer by Jordan Bohannon, was immediately fouled and missed both of his free throws. Wisconsin finished 5-for-14 (35.7 percent) from the line, as porous free throw shooting has been an ongoing story. Happ went 1-for-7 from the line.
Wisconsin’s 13 turnovers ends a three game streak of committing single digit turnovers. The Badgers committed nine in the first half alone, as the pressure Iowa supplied bugged the Badgers. Until the collapse by Wisconsin at the end of the game, the Badgers only committed one turnover before committing their final three over the last 2:40 of the game. The Hawkeyes were able to register nine steals and were able to cash Wisconsin’s mistakes into six points.
Overall Wisconsin shot 23-for-54 (42.6 percent) from the field and 6-for-23 (26.1 percent) from three. Wisconsin had four players in double figures, as Bronson Koenig led the Badgers with 19 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field. Showalter and Happ each finished the game with 11 points on a combined 9-for-18 shooting from the field, and Nigel Hayes chipped in 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field.
Wisconsin’s defense did what it needed to do against Jok, as Showalter was able to keep him in check with eight points on 2-for-10 shooting from the field. But like he has as of late, Bohannon was able to step up his game by leading Iowa’s starters with 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting from the field. Most importantly he delivered when his team needed him the most, knocking down the winning three with 9.7 seconds remaining.
Wisconsin had its chance of making sure Bohannon couldn’t attempt the winner, but Hayes mistimed his jump when he went up for the defensive rebound. Cordell Pemsl made Wisconsin pay by collecting the rebound and finding an open Bohannon. Bohannon’s three was his only perimeter make of the second half, going 0-for-4 up until that point in the half after going 2-for-4 in the first half.
Entering the game averaging 6.9 points a game, Nicholas Baer led Iowa in scoring with 14 points, scoring 12 in the first half. Pemsl was the only other Hawkeye to reach double figures with 10 points, as he shot 4-for-4 from the field and went 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Overall Iowa shot 22-for-53 (41.5 percent) from the field and 9-for-19 (47.4 percent) from three. The Hawkeyes were able to register 11 assists with Bohannon leading the way with five.
Despite forcing Iowa into 19 turnovers, the Badgers couldn’t consistently find ways of cashing in on the mistakes, finishing the game with 10 points off of turnovers. Showalter’s defense on Jok was able to force him into a team-high five turnovers, and four other players for Iowa committed at least two turnovers. Showalter (three steals) and Jordan Hill (two) combined for five of Wisconsin’s nine steals, as six different players for Wisconsin registered a steal.
The defense by Showalter on Jok was impressive when you consider his first points didn’t come until the 5:04 mark in the first half against Brevin Pritzl. Pritzl was defending Jok in the paint and the senior created a foul against the UW redshirt freshman while making his shot attempt, leading to a 3-point play. Overall Wisconsin held Iowa to 24 points in the paint, but 16 of Iowa’s 27 points in the second half came in the lane.
Wisconsin had its chances of winning but crumbled down the stretch by not stringing together the winning plays it needed against a young Iowa team.
With the game tied at 45 with 8:48 remaining, Wisconsin was able to string together a couple of defensive stops, holding Iowa without a field goal for 4:47, to build a 54-45 lead. Despite a multitude of chances, Wisconsin couldn’t find a way to close the game. After shooting the ball strong for the first 16 minutes, going 13-for-25 (52 percent) prior to the four minute media timeout, Wisconsin went 0-for-4 from the field in the final 3:40 of the game and was outscored 10-1.
Outside of not being able to close the game out strong, the Badgers suffered through a lengthy scoring drought in the first half that allowed Iowa to take control and build a halftime lead. After Happ put Wisconsin up 23-17 at the 7:19 mark, the Badgers didn’t make their next field goal until there was 37 seconds remaining. Prior to Wisconsin finishing the first half 1-for-7, the Badgers were shooting 50 percent (9-for-18) from the field.
Wisconsin built that led by getting the ball in the low post to Happ, who scored seven of his 11 points in the opening 20 minutes. The opportunities for the sophomore were limited after that when he started facing double teams and Iowa mixed its defenses, including playing zone. Overall Wisconsin finished the game with 24 points in the paint and collected seven offensive rebounds, which turned into 10 points. Iowa was able to win the rebounding battle 37-27.
Wisconsin didn’t receive much production from its bench as Hill and D'Mitrik Trice were the only two players to score, each finishing with two points. Although responsible for one of Wisconsin’s final three turnovers in the second half, Hill was able to provide a spark off the bench.
After not seeing the floor before halftime, Hill registered a steal off of Isaiah Moss and delivered a breakaway dunk to give UW a 49-45 lead. The junior also registered a nice effort play by coming up with an offensive rebound off of a missed 3-point shot and feed an open Showalter for a 3-pointer. Showalter finished 2-for-7 from the perimeter, but that shot boosted UW’s lead to nine, the largest of the game.
Game MVP: Bronson Koenig. Koenig put together two decent halves, going 4-for-7 in the first half and 3-for-7 in the second. After not aggressively hunting for his shot in the loss to Michigan State Sunday, Koenig came out aggressive and created spacing for himself to help Wisconsin build an early lead. After making only one of his 3-pointers against the Spartans, Koenig bounced back going 4-for-8 from the perimeter, his seventh game over conference play where he has made at least 50 percent of his attempts. Koenig also finished the game with one steal and one turnover.