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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, January 03, 2017 5:10 pm

Halftime thoughts: Wisconsin 38, Indiana 37

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON — Here are four quick hits as the Hoosiers and Badgers head to intermission at Assembly Hall:

1. One of the reasons Indiana was able to rally from a 14-point deficit and even take a brief lead was the number of times guys were willing to dive on the floor for loose balls and make an extra effort on the offensive glass. When coach Tom Crean used a timeout after just 2 minutes, 41 seconds, his message must have been all about energy, because the Hoosiers came back with better intensity than they have displayed since beating North Carolina on Nov. 30.

2. Wisconsin has focused on getting Ethan Happ the ball with his back to the basket, and neither Thomas Bryant nor Juwan Morgan has demonstrated an ability to keep Happ from getting where he wants to go in the post. Happ has eight points but oddly passed up a lay-in at one point to kick the ball out to the perimeter. Late in the half, Indiana put backup center De'Ron Davis on Happ, and that might be a matchup we see more of after the break. Morgan, in particular, is not used to guarding centers and has been overpowered.

3. Josh Newkirk's only rest in the first half, which came in two stints, lasted about three minutes total. He has five rebounds and has done a nice job getting the ball into the right spots. He scored the Hoosiers' first points after they had opened with six scoreless possessions. 

4. Robert Johnson is coming off the bench for only the 10th time in his career as Crean went to a bigger lineup with Morgan and OG Anunoby at the forward spots. But Johnson's shooting slump has continued. He's got two points but shot 0 for 5 in the first half, making him 1 for his last 18. Fortunately for the Hoosiers, James Blackmon Jr. (10 points) has been on his game tonight.