All good things must come to an end, apparently. Even Wisconsin's dominance over Indiana.
Despite a career-high 21 points from Traevon Jackson, the No. 3 Badgers (16-1, 3-1 Big Ten) were unable to overcome numerous defensive lapses in a 75-72 loss to the Hoosiers (12-5, 2-2).
Led by sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell, Indiana handed Wisconsin its first loss of the season. Ferrell was relentless on the dribble-drive and created high-percentage shots for himself and teammates all game, finishing with 25 points and four assists.
Wisconsin rode a hot 7-of-7 shooting streak to an early 18-10 lead but battled foul trouble and clung to a 35-34 halftime lead. Jackson, Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes all had two fouls and forced the Badgers deep into the bench for the last eight minutes of the half. Josh Gasser took over point guard duties and kept the Badgers together with nine first-half points.
Jackson quickly showed how much his contributions were missed, scoring the Badgers' first nine points of the second half. It seemed Jackson was singlehandedly going to take over the game and lead the Badgers to victory, but Wisconsin's defense continued to fail them. In the first half, if it wasn't Ferrell on the dribble-drive, it was Will Sheehey on back-door cuts for a dunk. In the second half, the Badgers' transition defense was slow to recover, allowing Indiana too many easy looks and letting the Hoosiers gain control of the game.
Jackson kept the game close, though. Frank Kaminsky also had several big rebounds and baskets to give the Badgers a chance to win, down only three with 18 seconds left. But three-point attempts from Jackson and Ben Brust rattled out, sending the Assembly Hall crowd flooding onto the floor.
This game came down to Indiana hitting big shots and Wisconsin being unable to answer. Ferrell took over down the stretch with big shot after big shot. For the first time all year, the Badgers could not get any open looks to fall.
This was without a doubt the most high-stress game Wisconsin has played all season. The Badgers never held the lead after the seven-minute mark in the second half, making every possession critical. Jackson seemed to be the only player that looked comfortable taking a jump shot. Sam Dekker in particular seemed hesitant around the rim, especially after getting a few layups blocked early.
As a team, Wisconsin finished 7-of-23 from three-point territory and just 1-of-4 from the free-throw line. The number of attempts is especially disappointing considering the Badgers averaged 18 free throw attempts per game in their first three Big Ten contests. Settling for jump shots has plagued Badger teams of recent history, and this year's version needs to regain their aggressiveness attacking the rim against Michigan Saturday or it could be two straight losses in a hurry.
UW went up 10 at the 13:30 mark in the second half. Next six shots: five threes and a long two from Hayes. All misses.— Parker Gabriel (@pgabriel15) January 15, 2014
Understand and agree with criticism on Trae's last shot. But, in the second half: Jackson 7/9. Rest of the #Badgers: 8/22.— Parker Gabriel (@pgabriel15) January 15, 2014
Of Indiana's 75 points, 52 came in the paint. Fifty-two.— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) January 15, 2014
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