Rapid Reaction: Wisconsin 79, Indiana 71

March, 9, 2012

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.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?