Rapid Reaction: Wisconsin 79, Indiana 71
March, 9, 2012
By Myron Medcalf | ESPN.com
INDIANAPOLIS -- A look at Wisconsin's victory against a depleted Indiana team.
Overview: During an opening-round victory against Penn State, Indiana lost senior point guard and leader Verdell Jones to an ACL injury. But the Hoosiers tried to press forward without the veteran in a tough game against the Badgers, who had beaten the Hoosiers in their only previous meeting of the season.
The Badgers led by 11 with 10:30 remaining in the first half of Friday’s game. But after shooting 47 percent in the first half, the Hoosiers were only down 36-31 at halftime.
The Badgers led by as much as nine in the second half, but they couldn’t bury the Hoosiers, who fed off a Bankers Life Insurance crowd that was anchored by Indiana fans. Cody Zeller hit a pair of free throws that cut Wisconsin’s lead to three with 5:04 to play. The Hoosiers stayed close the rest of the game.
But Rob Wilson’s late 3-pointer put Wisconsin ahead 72-65 with about 40 seconds to play. Ryan Evans blocked Jordan Hulls' 3-point attempt on the other end, and the Badgers sealed the game with late free throws.
Turning point: Hulls hit a jump shot with 3:45 to play that cut Wisconsin’s lead to one point (63-62). A pair of Wisconsin free throws followed after Zeller was called for the offensive foul on the play. The teams exchanged buckets before Jared Berggren extended a three-point lead (67-64) to five with 90 seconds left. It was a crucial sequence. The Hoosiers needed a play during that stretch. And they had chances.
Key player: Wilson averages 3.1 ppg. He’d recorded double figures (11 during 67-66 loss at Iowa Feb. 23) once this season. Then, Friday happened. The senior guard scored 30, and went 7-for-10 from beyond the arc.
Key stat: The Badgers were 13-for-26 from the 3-point line.
Miscellaneous: Jones watched the game from behind the bench … Christian Watford recorded his second double-double in this year’s tournament with 17 points and 10 rebounds. … Wisconsin fans chanted “Rob Wilson! Rob Wilson!” as the game clock expired.
What’s next: Michigan State will face Wisconsin on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. Indiana will go home and prepare for the NCAA tournament.