Whether it was too much fun in the sun or the 9:30 p.m. local start time, No.22 Wisconsin's unproductiveness led for some uneasy moments in the opening round of the Paradise Jam Tournament.
It didn't help that many people who viewed it called the worst officiated game of college basketball they have ever seen.
Whatever the reason, the Badgers needed overtime, and a prayer of a shot from senior Trevon Hughes, to beat Iona 60-58 Friday night at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center.
"We just bit the bullet (and) found a way to get it done," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "It is possible to win when you shoot a low percentage. Give our guys credit. They've got bruises, bumps and cuts. We'll have to go into the Mash unit here."
Although Wisconsin (3-0) struggled to gain the lead throughout the second half, the Badgers took control early in overtime. Sophomore Tim Jarmusz put back a rebound to give UW its first lead since early in the second half at 54-52.
The key for the game for the Badgers, who shot 31.3 percent and committed 19 turnovers, in the second half and overtime was Hughes. Leading all scores with 21 points, Hughes went 11-for-12 from the free throw line and nailed a spectacular shot in the final two minutes to give the Badgers some cushion.
With the shot clock winding down, Hughes lost the basketball off his knee and somehow was able to hurl the ball toward the hoop from 12-feet and banked it off the glass, pushing the lead to 58-55.
"Trevon did call bank as he was going down to the floor," Ryan said.
After two free throws by Jason Bohannon (13 points), Iona (1-1) got a three-point play from Rashon Dwight to cut the lead to 60-58. After Bohannon missed two free throws to ice the game, the Gaels had a chance to win or tie but couldn't get a shot off, helping the Badgers escape.
Wisconsin made 25 of its 34 free throw attempts while Iona went only 9-for-15, which turned to be the difference in the game.
"The only way that you are successful when that happens if a team is going to commit to all that pressure, you've got to make them foul you … and that was the difference in the game," Ryan said. "They were bumping us on shots and the officials weren't going to blow every whistle. People that didn't see this with their eyeballs and had to listen to it, I feel sorry for them because they had to see this."
Leading 28-23 at halftime, nothing went right for Wisconsin to start the second half. The Badgers started 0-for-10 from the field, struggled with foul trouble (the Gales were in the bonus for the final 13:41) and saw Iona go on a 14-1 to build its lead to six as UW didn't make its first field goal until Bohannon hit a jumper with 12:28 left in the half.
Throw in a technical foul called on the far end of Wisconsin's bench and the second half did not begin in a positive fashion and never seemed to fully return, especially with the Badgers being whistled for a foul seemingly every possession.
But down six at 35-29, Wisconsin chipped its way back thanks to junior Trevon Hughes, who went 9-for-10 from the free throw line in the game to kept the Badgers close. Wisconsin, despite shooting 17 percent from three-point range, got the big three when they needed, one by Jason Bohannon to cut the lead to 42-40 and the other from Tim Jarmusz to cut the lead to 50-49.
Senior Marcus Landry got a tip in to tie the score at 52 and the Badgers had to avoid a game-winning three-point attempt from Huffman to force overtime.
Senior Gyno Pomare scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the second half and added 12 rebounds to help San Diego (2-1) beat Valparaiso 73-66 on Friday in the Paradise Jam.
Despite shooting only 42 percent from the floor and 68 percent from the free throw line, the Toreros out scored the Crusaders 36-28 in the paint and out rebounded them 50-30.
San Diego returns all five starters from the team that advanced to the second round of last year's NCAA tournament. These two teams have never played.