BLOOMINGTON – BLOOMINGTON – Wisconsin has given Indiana all sorts of trouble in recent years.
Tuesday, the Badgers used lock-down defense in the second half to knock off the No. 2 Hoosiers 64-59 in front of 17,472 stunned fans at Assembly Hall.
IU shot just 26.9 percent from the floor (7 of 26) after halftime. The Hoosiers (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) shot just 37 percent for the game (20 of 54) as their six-game winning streak came to an end.
“We missed a lot of shots. We missed 34 shots,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “A lot of things have to go right for you if you’re going to miss 34 shots.”
Ryan Evans scored 13 points, including a big fade-away jumper with 3:06 remaining as the Badgers (13-4, 4-0) grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.
“The second half they made some shots that reminded me of the Michael Jordan-Larry Bird McDonald’s horse game,” Crean said. “I say that half in jest, but when you get momentum going, it’s amazing what can happen. They played really hard and they got the momentum.”
Wisconsin won its 11th straight in the series and became the first opponent to win five in a row at Assembly Hall.
“If you’re going to beat a team like this, you have to have a lot of things go well, and I thought we took pretty good care of the ball considering their pressure and athletic as Indiana is,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. The Badgers had just eight turnovers.
“That’s just how they play,” IU junior guard Victor Oladipo said. “We just need to do a better job of playing defense. We’re going to get back to the drawing board.”
Cody Zeller scored 23 points to lead the Hoosiers. He scored 18 in the first half on 8-of-8 shooting.
“I just wanted to be aggressive, take what the defense gives me,” Zeller said. “I tried to attack and get to the line.”
Christian Watford had 11 points and Oladipo scored 10, but it wasn’t enough as the Badgers ended Indiana’s 18-game home winning streak.
IU led 32-31 at halftime. But the Badgers scored nine straight to build a 47-39 lead.
Traevon Jackson started the run, scoring while getting fouled. Sam Dekker and Mike Bruesewitz followed with three-pointers for the Badgers. Jackson scored 11 points. Dekker and Bruesewitz both finished with 10 points.
Zeller made two free throws to end the run, but the Badgers soon extended the lead to 51-41.
“We didn’t really defend the dribble well. They were getting into the lane, kicking it and making tough shots,” Oladipo said.
The Hoosiers made a frantic comeback, going on a 10-1 run to get within one point. Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell hit a step-back three-pointer to cut Wisconsin’s lead to 52-51 with 4:42 remaining.
Evans’ tough fade-away jumper gave the Badgers a 56-53 lead. Jackson then made a basket to give Wisconsin some breathing room.
“We weren’t moving the ball like we should have or like we normally do,” Crean said. “I think when we see the film it wasn’t as much them as it was us. They played real well and I’m not taking anything away from the way they played, but we missed shots, especially open ones, and we didn’t guard the dribble the way we needed to. That’s how they got the win.”