Wisconsin came out firing from long range early and often on Sunday. The Badgers shot 11 first half triples, making five of them. Alando Tucker was two of two from behind the arc in the first stanza. The second half was a little bit of the Wisconsin we are used to, as the team hit just two of nine attempts. But, at least for 20 minutes, the Badgers had a glimmer of hope.
YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME
It is said that you can never go home. Badger freshman guard Jason Bohannon, from nearby Marion, learned that from the moment he stepped on the floor Sunday afternoon. He heard a collective "boo" from the Iowa student section. Jason quickly quieted them by dropping a 22-foot jumper from the right wing. His father, Gordy, who led Iowa to a Rose Bowl in the early 1980's, was quick to stand up with both arms raised in the air. The elder Bohannon was also wearing a gold hat with a black "I" on it. Old habits die hard, evidently.
Iowa's Adam Haluska knocked down a three-point shot to give the Hawkeyes a 12-9 advantage at the 12:30 mark in the first half. It was not until Tony Freeman made one of two free throws seven minutes, thirteen seconds later that Iowa scored again. The Badgers went on a 14-0 scoring run in that time frame. In fact, Iowa did not make another shot until Haluska made a 10-footer at 2:34. Many of the Wisconsin fans gave the team a standing ovation at that point.
CONTROL IS AN ILLUSION
Or is it? When Tucker wants to take control of a game, he just does it. He began the game by making his first seven shots, and ended by making 11 of 14. Alando scored a game-high 27 points. That was the first time he eclipsed the 20 point barrier during Big Ten play. But, there is no doubt he can flip the switch when he wants to. "When you see a college player doing that stuff," Badger guard Kammron Taylor said. "…that is pretty amazing. 'Do just elevates over his defender and knocks down everything when he wants to do it. I am just glad he is wearing a red jersey."
GETTING DEFENSIVE PART TWO
Iowa's two leading scorers, Haluska and freshman Tyler Smith, were held to 16 and eight, respectively. Most of Haluska's damage was done from the free throw line, where he went nine of 10. Combined, the duo shot a paultry, if not disgusting, six of 35. That is 17 percent. You can certainly attribute all of that to the physical, switching style of defense the Badger guards play. When Haluska was able to get past the first line of defense, the interior players of Wisconsin were there to meet him at the point of entry.
"When we play our game on defense, it is going to be pretty tough to beat us. Today, all things were clicking and that is a good thing."
"I do not worry about people when they refer to me as Chris Rock. But, if they ever start comparing our games and they are alike, that is when I will be worried."
"It is fun coming back here. I have played in this place at camp, in AAU, and have been to many games."
"It was nice to hit the first shot because it takes away the pressure and the jitters. You are going to hear the boo's everywhere you go. It is a part of playing in the Big Ten. It really didn't bother me."
"I am just letting the game come to me right now. When the lock down on Alando or Butch, I find my spots. Whatever helps the team is what I want to do."
Assistant Coach Gary Close
"This place is special to me (referring to Carver-Hawkeye Arena and Iowa City. My son was born here and I love this place. It is great for us (Wisconsin) to get a win here, but I still do not want them (Iowa) to lose. But I know where I am at now."
"When he (Tucker) wants to take over out there, he can just do it. It is not like we have not seen this before, he does it all the time."
"The basket gets bigger when you make a couple threes. I just felt it there for a while, and that is a good thing feeling."