Getting balanced production from the outside, a season high 21 points from Trevon Hughes, to the inside, a career-high 18 points from Joe Krabbenhoft, Wisconsin throttled Indiana in the second half en route to a 68-51 victory over Indiana Thursday.
"It's Assembly Hall. This is Bobby Knight and five national championships," Krabbenhoft said with a smile outside the locker room. "This is a pretty cool place to play. To go out with a win last year in dramatic fashion and this year to get it done with Wisconsin basketball, I'm proud of my team."
The win gives Wisconsin (17-9, 8-6 Big Ten) its fifth-straight victory, a season high, and moves UW into a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten.
"We got a bunch of talented guys on the team," said Hughes. "We went on that losing streak and we didn't give up, worked extra hard in practice and in the games. We made promises to each other than we aren't going to take a possession off."
Against a desperate team, the Badgers knew that they needed to pounce early, taking a rowdy environment out of the question. After a shaky first half, Wisconsin did exactly that, crushing any hope Indiana (6-19, 1-12 Big Ten) have of its first big win of the season and sending the Hoosiers to their 15th loss in their last 16 games.
The Badgers held the Hoosiers to only 27.8 percent (5-for-18) shooting in the second half, three of which came in the final 2:28 seconds, while the Badgers shot 60.9 percent (14-for-23) from the floor after halftime.
Hughes scored 11 of his 21 points in the second half to go with five rebounds, four assists and two steals while Krabbenhoft also added 11 to his point total after halftime.
"I like to say it was something at halftime, but it was just finishing shots inside," said UW head coach Bo Ryan, who's team out scored Indiana 18-4 in the paint after halftime. "We reiterated what we were trying to accomplish and we had better results in the second half.
"We didn't do anything different. We did it better."
Wisconsin struggled through a 39.8 percent shooting first half thanks to Hughes (10 points), solid three-point shooting (4-for-8) and defense, forcing eight Hoosier turnovers which help negate Indiana's 50 percent first-half shooting performance.
Playing a desperate team, according to Hughes, opened up Wisconsin's eyes at halftime.
"They were definitely out working us in the first half," he said. "The only reason we were up that one point (31-30) was, I think, because of our experience."
After Verdell Jones III (16 points) knifed through the Badger defense with a running lay up to give the Hoosiers a 32-31 lead early on the second half's first possession, Wisconsin made sure that was the last cheer from the 14,669 Hoosier faithful.
Krabbenhoft answered on the next possession to retake the Badger lead at 33-32, followed by Marcus Landry (nine points) registering a three-point play by using his body to draw contact by senior Kyle Taber.
After Devan Dumes (12 points), fresh off a two-game suspension from a flagrant foul against Michigan State, hit a pair of free throws, the Badgers continued to poor it on, getting a driving lay up from Hughes and a wide-open three-pointer by sophomore Jon Leuer to give UW a seven-point lead at 15:53.
"We attacked the basket and didn't settle for any open threes," said Hughes, as UW went on an 18-2 run between Indiana's first and second basket. "We just kept running our offense and when we had looks, we took them."
The Badgers kept the foot on the gas and by the first media timeout, were enjoying a 46-34 lead, were already in the bonus and put Jones, who was Indiana's only semblance of offense, on the bench with four fouls at 13:52.
Even with Jones on the floor, the Hoosiers couldn't buy a bucket, going nine minutes before registering their second basket of the half.
"I don't think we completed very well in the second half and our defense certainly let us down," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. "There was really nothing early for us to hang our hat on, much different than the first half. They did an excellent job of taking advantage."
By the time Hughes' hit his third three-pointer to push the lead to 18 at 58-40, Hoosier fans already had their coats in hands and were scrambling for the exits.
When Krabbenhoft banked in points 17 and 18 to give UW its largest lead of the game at 64-42 with 3:24 left, the cleaning crew was already getting to work.
"They're great at hanging around and if they hit a couple threes, they're going to be victorious," Hughes said. "We did a nice job of when we got a comfortable lead, we stuck to our rules and didn't let them get any easy ones."
Added Crean: "They played better than us. They played like a veteran club and we played like a bunch of rookies. Bottom line"