Iowa knocks Wisconsin out of 1st in Big Ten 70-66
IOWA CITY, Ia. After weeks of trying, Iowa finally notched a big win in the Big Ten
In defeat, Wisconsin showed why it's been such a tough out all season.
Aaron White scored 17 points and the Hawkeyes hung on to beat Wisconsin 70-66 on Saturday night, knocking the Badgers out of first place in the Big Ten.
Devyn Marble added 13 for Iowa, which picked up its best win of the season on the 20th anniversary of the death of former player Chris Street.
Iowa (13-5, 2-3 Big Ten) jumped ahead by 20 points late in the first half and held off a late charge by the Badgers, which beat second-ranked Indiana 64-59 on Tuesday.
"We knew we had to come out strong. We knew Wisconsin was a very hot team," Iowa guard Mike Gesell said. "The crowd was energetic. It was a big night, and we were able to come out and punch them early and be able to keep our lead."
George Marshall had 20 points, all in the second half, but the Badgers became the last Big Ten team to lose a league game. Wisconsin fell a half of a game behind Michigan State in the standings with the loss.
Iowa let opportunities for big home wins over Indiana and Michigan State slip away and the Hawkeyes weren't about to let the rival Badgers hand them their third straight home loss.
"I just think it's important that we played better. We played better than we did in those games on both ends of the floor," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Iowa's defense, which has been somewhat inconsistent this season, forced the Badgers into bad shots as the shot clock wound down as the Hawkeyes raced out to a 30-10 lead.
Wisconsin (13-5, 4-1) hit just one basket in the first 10 minutes of the game and Gabe Olaseni's lay-up put the Hawkeyes ahead by 20 with 4:56 left in the first half.
Iowa needed every one of those points as the Badgers somehow crept within 66-63 on a 3-pointer by Marshall with 22.5 seconds left, but Marble and White hit late free throws around a steal to seal the win.
"We got in a hole. We're not exactly a team that can make those comebacks, and we made several of them," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said.
After scraping past bottom feeders Penn State and Nebraska, Wisconsin pounded No. 23 Illinois in Madison last weekend and pulled off the biggest stunner in the Big Ten so far, beating No. 2 Indiana in Bloomington on Tuesday.
The Badgers looked nothing like the team that celebrated in Bloomington until the final minutes against Iowa. Wisconsin missed 19 of its first 22 shots after shooting 45 percent from the field in the win over the Hoosiers. It was only fitting that the best shot Wisconsin hit in the first half, a 50-footer off the glass by Ben Brust, was waved off because it came after the buzzer.
Sam Dekker scored 13 points for Wisconsin and Jared Berggren finished with just eight points.
"I don't think our guys got over excited about the win at Indiana to the point where it didn't prepare. There (are) good teams in the Big Ten. We played one of them," Ryan said.
For Hawkeyes fans, the halftime ceremony honoring Street will be probably be what they'll remember most from this one.
Street, a native of Indianola, Iowa, was just 20 years old when he was killed in a car accident in Iowa City midway through his junior season. Iowa brought back a number of former players who won an annual award given out in Street's honor, and a short video about his career was played on the scoreboard.
For the current Hawkeyes, four of their next five games are on the road.
"There was an energy level in the building that I've never seen before," McCaffery said.