Wisconsin (14-4, 4-2) has won their last seven against Indiana (10-9, 1-5) and their last last 14 at the Kohl Center. While a win is a win, the Badgers clash with the Hoosiers was a lot closer than expected.
By: Nick Grays
What It Means: Each and every year, a lesser Big Ten team seems to play the Badgers close at the Kohl Center. Last season it was an overtime thriller with Penn State and the season before that a close encounter with Michigan.
Thursday’s game with the Hoosiers seems to fit in that category, especially considering the Badgers poor defensive performance in the first half. They allowed Indiana to hold a lead for the entire half when the Hoosiers shot a sizzling 60.9 percent from the field. At the same time, give the Badgers credit for not losing their composure and grinding out the win.
Player of the Game: Junior Guard Jordan Taylor
Taylor was magnificent while leading the Badgers to victory. The star point guard was on fire in the first half while shooting 7-of-8 for 17 points. In the second half, the game-plan didn’t change much as Taylor continued to attack and made a few critical trips to the free-throw line. Taylor’s effectiveness from the free-throw line (7-for-7) continues to be an important asset to this Badgers team. Taylor quietly added eight rebounds as well.
Highlight of the Night: It took awhile, but it was sophomore forward Mike Bruesewitz who threw down a dunk-and-one to give the Badgers their first lead 26:41 into the game. Bruesewitz finished the night with five points and contributed 27 solid minutes off the bench.
Stat of the Game: Once again, the Badgers took care of the ball while yielding only five turnovers. Coming into the game with the Hoosiers, Wisconsin led the nation in both fewest turnovers (8.2 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.71).
Quotables: “Jordan Taylor is not only one of the premier guards in the league, that’s obvious, he’s one of the premier guards in the country,” said Tom Crean. “It’s not just because he played great tonight, he is an outstanding player. He has all three facets of the offense when it comes to scoring.”
When asked about how the Badgers rallied to beat the Hoosiers, Ryan had a quintessential response.
“Stay the course,” said Ryan. “The five and-ones in a half was possibly a record; and-ones are really crucial in a game.”
What’s Next: The Badgers tip-off with the underachieving Northwestern Wildcats (13-5, 3-4) on football Sunday. The game-time was even changed to 11:30 AM CT to ensure there will be no conflict between the two contests. The Wildcats are fresh off a old-fashioned beat-down of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. In the 98-55 win, Drew Crawford led a balanced attack with 16 points. The Wildcats are 0-3 against the AP top 25 this season.
What did you think of the Badgers back-and-forth affair with the Hoosiers? Did the Badgers come out sluggish or are the Hoosiers getting better? Let me know by commenting below!
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