UW extends winning streak
BLOOMINGTON, IND. After his team’s 68-51 loss to Wisconsin on Thursday night, Tom Crean perfectly summed up the proceedings.
“They played like a veteran team and we played like a bunch of rookies,” the Indiana coach said.
Facing an Indiana team to which it would have no business losing, UW dominated the second half to extended its winning streak to five games and move into a tie with Penn State for fourth place in the Big Ten.
Trevon Hughes scored 21 points, one below his season high, and had four assists and five rebounds for the Badgers. Joe Krabbenhoft added a collegiate-high 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting and grabbed five rebounds for UW (17-9, 8-6), which shot 60 percent in the second half when it outscored the Hoosiers by 16.
Wisconsin led by as many as 22 points.
Indiana (6-19, 1-12), meanwhile, added to its school record for losses in a season. The Hoosiers, who were led by Verdell Jones’ 16 points, made just five of 18 shots in the second half after shooting 12-for-24 in the first.
That was just half of a second-half metamorphosis for the Badgers, whose inability to finish in the paint allowed Indiana to stay close even though it went through a dry spell in which it scored just two points over a six-minute period during the final 10 minutes of the first half.
“Our guys had a heck of a second half,” UW coach Bo Ryan said.
The Badgers dominated the final 20 minutes pretty much from the start. They outscored Indiana, 18-4, during the first 82 minutes, using 13 unanswered points to turn a two-point lead into a 49-34 advantage with 112 minutes left.
Krabbenhoft started the run with a putback of Hughes’ three-point miss to give the Badgers a 33-32 lead. Marcus Landry’s three-point play on the next possession pushed the lead to four points.
Indiana’s Devan Dumes, who played his first game after a two-game suspension for throwing a flagrant elbow, sank two free throws to cut that deficit in half, but Hughes’ drive in transition pushed the lead back to four points and Jon Leuer’s three-pointer at the 15:51 mark gave Wisconsin a 41-34 lead.
Krabbenhoft made it a 10-0 run by first scoring in the paint off a pass from Landry and then hitting one of two free throws to give the Badgers a 46-34 lead with 13:52 left.
Tim Jarmusz capped the run with a three off a cross-court pass from Krabbenhoft to give the Badgers a 49-34 advantage.
Indiana didn’t score again until 10:59 was left when Nick Williams hit two free throws to snap a 6:38 scoreless stretch.
“I don’t think we competed very well in the second half,” Crean said. “Our defense certainly let us down. It was much different than the first half and they exposed that.”
Indiana actually had trouble staying in front of Hughes all night and UW had at least four instances in the first half when it failed to finish good looks inside.
Those shots fell in the second half and Hughes did a better job of staying in front of Jones, whose ability to penetrate and score produced the Hoosiers’ only points during the final 4 minutes of the first half.
And once the Badgers cut off the head of the Hoosiers’ snake, UW just kept pouring it on.
“We just kept running our offense,” Hughes said. “Sometimes we tend to slow the game down, just don’t look for our shots. We kept running our offense.”