1. Ben Brust's and Ryan Evans’ back-to-back slams
Brust’s dunk came at the 2:27 mark in the first half. On Indiana’s previous possession, Cody Zeller had thrown down a monster one-handed slam to give his team a 29-27 lead, effectively electrifying the Assembly Hall crowd.
But, Brust silenced the crowd with a surprising slam of his own on the following Wisconsin possession, surprising his defender, Jordan Hulls, with a quick step to the right and driving down the lane.
The dunk almost rimmed out, but it was a surprising finish nonetheless and deflated the Indiana crowd.
Sadly, Brust wasn’t available to the media after the game to comment on this incredible feet for a man who stands just 6-foot-1.
Then, after a Hulls turnover, redshirt senior forward Evans took a hard dribble from the left wing to the center of the floor, blowing past his defender Christian Watford and a shifting Cody Zeller for an emphatic two-handed flush.
Both of these dunks were also important because not only did it give the Badgers back the lead, but it came in the absence of big man Jared Berggren on the floor, who picked up his second foul with a bit over three minutes to go in the half.
Even though Berggren didn’t have the best of games offensively, he proved a valuable defender against Zeller (read: the second half, where Zeller scored five and not 18), especially after fellow center Frank Kaminsky left the game injured.
2. Berggren’s Swat of Cody Zeller
After taking perhaps the worst beating of his career defensively in the first half, Berggren set out to make amends early in the second.
At the 16:14 mark in the second half Hulls sent an entry pass to Zeller on the right block. Berggren was in solid position but a tad late in reacting to the pass from his three-quarter defensive position defending in the post.
Traevon Jackson stepped in to help Berggren in recovery, holding his ground against the 7-footer. When Zeller skied up for the shot with four Badgers around him, Berggren recovered to swat the ball from behind, sending the Hoosiers’ center to the ground and giving the Badgers the ball.
It was a moment that sent Zeller seemingly tumbling back to earth in a literal and figurative manner, as Berggren physically pressed Zeller out of the easy looks he found in the first half in the last 20 minutes of play.
Bo Ryan touched on the fact that his team may have underestimated the improvement of Zeller from a year ago in the first half and that fact showed, as Zeller blew past lazy close outs by Wisconsin defenders, mainly Berggren, in the first half for easy looks.
3. Bruesewitz’s three-pointer with the shot clock expiring
There’s something to be said when you give the No. 2 team in the country the largest deficit they’ve faced all season.
And although UW eventually extended its lead in the second half to 10, Bruesewitz’s three with 12:12 remaining in the game increased the difference between the two teams to eight, which to that point was the largest deficit of the season for IU.
With three seconds remaining on the shot clock, Bruesewitz took the pass from a double-teamed Jackson. Jackson had drove the ball off the right of the arc and Zeller jumped the sideline to cut him off and double team him.
But, by doing so, Zeller left his man, Bruesewitz, and the redshirt senior noticed this and drifted off to the open space, a spot about three feet behind the three point line to a little right of the top of the arc.
And, with Zeller lazily closing out, not believing Bruesewitz had the range to pull-up and drain the long distance haul and thinking he was going to put the ball on the floor, Bruiser had all the space he needed to shoot a clean look.
The fact that the shot put IU in the biggest hole of the season speaks volumes to the momentum this shot shifted. It went from Indiana thinking "hey we’ve came back from this before" to "ARE THEY GOING TO MISS ANYTHING IN THE SECOND HALF?" It just seemed like when Bruiser nailed that shot that it was truly going to be Wisconsin’s night.
It was, as commentator Dan Dakich said for ESPN, a senior moment by Bruesewitz, making a big shot in a tough spot.
The celebration by Bruiser after the three irritated some Hoosier fans but proved that the redshirt senior and his team had the necessary swagger that night to get the job done.
What was the celebration, you ask? It was the "three-point antlers." And the last time I saw anyone do that after making a shot was a seventh-grader on the traveling team I used to coach.
I mean, after the shot you could hear boos echo throughout Assembly Hall. The fans really disliked Bruesewitz, mostly because he would yell back at them after swishing a three to answer their "airball" chants.
RUN-BUSTER OF THE GAME: Sam Dekker
I know the obvious pick here would be to go with either Jackson's pull-up jumper, Evan's ridiculous turnaround or Brust's jumper to end a 10-1 run by Indiana in the second half, but my pick goes to a moment that may have escaped unnoticed in its importance.
After a bucket by Watford at the 9:35 mark of the second half, Indiana enacted a 1-2-2 (or a 2-2-1, I get confused) and Evans handled the ball up the court against Victor Oladipo. What occurred next was nauseating, as Evans drove to the right corner at half court after he passed the line (for any coach, that’s one of the biggest no-no's in any press break).
As Oladipo bodied up Evans, Evans lost his dribble and with it going out of bounds, saved it and threw it up into the air. When the Hoosiers came down with it, they ran in transition.
What followed next was extremely lazy defense by Evans, as he walked back in transition and didn’t even locate his man, Oladipo, on his way back. Oladipo found an open look as Evans wasn’t in position to body him up on the ball exchange at the top of the key from Hulls. Oladipo made the jumper and brought the Wisconsin lead down from 51-45 and the home crowd back to life.
With pressure mounting, freshman Sam Dekker went and got the ball on the ensuing possession from his spot in the press break from the right side spot on the half-court line. This is done when neither of the two guard options on the press break are open on the initial play, so on this press-break Dekker was a third option. Dekker caught the ball on the right sideline and, being the intelligent young man he is, broke with the ball to the center of the floor. With Watford trailing on his back to his left side and waiting for his other trapping man, Oladipo, to cut off Dekker’s right, Dekker dribbled hard to the left sideline and beat Oladipo there, as eventually the Indiana forward was called for the reach-in foul.
This may seem like an obsolete moment but it was anything but. Evans had turned it over, the crowd was back into it and the Indiana players had picked up their intensity. The foul called on Oladipo and Dekker’s quick break of the press broke up any momentum the Hoosiers had hoped to gain from their quick 4-0 run.
May I also mention that after the foul, Evans was yanked by Ryan to the Badgers' bench.
Defender of the game: Ben Brust
Brust was tasked with defending Jordan Hulls for Indiana, the best three-point shooter in the nation, percentage wise, entering Tuesday's game.
Hulls shot one three-pointer on the night, which he missed and didn't come until under a minute remaining in the game.
Hulls scored just four points.