Wisconsin survives

Iowa nearly comes all the back from 15-point second-half deficit; Badgers remain in first place

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Iowa's Jeff Horner very nearly had another game-winner in him. Just three days after handing Indiana a double-overtime loss with a driving layup with two seconds left on the clock, Horner's 3-point shot with one second left Wednesday night could have upset Big Ten-leading Wisconsin.

The shot, though, glanced off the rim, granting the Badgers a 54-52 win despite scoring just six points in the last 10 minutes. Junior guard Devin Harris led Wisconsin with 16, while juniors Clayton Hanson and Mike Wilkinson each chipped in a dozen.

With the win, the Badgers (7-2 Big Ten, 16-4 overall) moved a half game up on Illinois and Michigan State in the conference standings while Iowa fell to 5-5 in Big Ten play, 12-9 overall.

The conference's leading offense at 74.8 points per game, Iowa was held largely in check, despite sophomore guard Pierre Pierce's 20-point performance. The Hawkeyes suffered 19 turnovers and Horner was held to five points after tallying 17 against the Hoosiers. Senior forward Glen Worley managed to reach the 1,000 career-point plateau, but hit just 2 of 11 shots for six points.

Wisconsin scored 10 unanswered points early in the second half to pull ahead 44-29 with just more than 13 minutes left to play. Pierce, though, scored six straight Iowa points to close the gap to 46-35; he scored the Hawkeyes first 10 points of the half.

Pierce's play sparked Iowa, which slowly but surely chipped away at the lead as the Badgers offense fizzled. In the middle of the second half, Iowa switched to a man-to-man defense, which limited Wisconsin to 10 points in the final 13 minutes and just 3 of 13 shooting in the last 10.

Iowa cut the lead to three with 2:38 left to play when senior guard Brody Boyd hit his third 3-point shot of the game. Harris, who scored the Badgers' last four points, hit a shot with 1:28 left to give Wisconsin a 54-49 advantage. After a Harris turnover, though, Worley hit a 3-pointer to draw Iowa within 54-52 with 42 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, the Badgers got the ball to junior forward Zach Morley in the paint, but he could not convert, giving Iowa the last chance that this time would not fall.

 


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