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Wisconsin basketball: Indiana recap

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Wisconsin breaks through with hot shooting and crushes Indiana, 84-64.

Credit Dan Sanger

Coming off three straight road losses, the Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball team (5-4 overall, 1-0 B1G) was back in action Saturday afternoon against the undefeated Indiana Hoosiers (8-1 overall, 0-1 B1G).

In the Big Ten opener for both teams, the records were deceiving in this matchup. Wisconsin was clearly the better squad, dominating the Hoosiers in all facets of the game on their way to a resounding 20 point win.

After winning the opening tip, the Badgers jumped out to an early lead thanks to some hot shooting. Wisconsin was up 15-4 after the first five minutes of action, shooting 60% from the floor.

Shortly thereafter, Wisconsin would cool off a smidge, due to a three minute scoring drought, but Indiana was unable to take advantage. Instead it was the Badgers who would get hot again to extend the lead on the Hoosiers to a high of 20 points in the first half.

Ultimately the Badgers would go into halftime with a 47-27 lead. The Badgers were paced by Nate Reuvers (11 points) , Kobe King (17 points) and Aleem Ford (9), all of whom shot remarkably better than in the previous three contests.

In the second stanza, Wisconsin did not let up. The Badgers would continue to pile it on, taking a 59-31 lead at the 15:24 mark. Nate Reuvers and Brevin Pritzl got things going with some big time three-pointers, while Kobe King had a backdoor cut finished with a pretty two-handed slam.

As the game progressed, Wisconsin would continue to pile it on due to some tremendous shooting and team defense. At the twelve minute mark in the half Wisconsin would hold a 30 point lead against the Hoosiers.

While Indiana would fight back with a 10 point run of their own, this game was all Wisconsin, as the Badgers would run away with it and win 84-64.

Notable stat lines:

  • Kobe King —> 24 points (10-of-15 from the floor), four rebounds (career high in points)
  • Nate Reuvers —> 20 points (8-of-12 from the floor), four rebounds
  • Aleem Ford —> 13 points (4-of-6 from the floor), five rebounds, one assist

Three things that stood out

No. 1: Home cooking

After averaging a measly 35% shooting over the past three games, including only 18% from behind the three-point arc, the Badgers responded in a big way Saturday. In the first half, the Badgers shot 62.5% overall, and 46% from three. In the second half, the great shooting continued, as the the Badgers would finish the game shooting a whopping 53.6% from the field, and 40% from three-point land. Pair the potent shooting with a season low four turnovers and the Badgers were clicking on all cylinders.

This home court scoring surge was much needed for the team and the fanbase. Wisconsin will need to bottle up some of the positive shooting momentum, and carry it over to the rest of the season.

No. 2: Dynamic duo

Kobe King and Nate Reuvers put on a show Saturday. King’s 17 first half points were one away from his career high, while Reuvers was able to play great on both ends of the court against Indiana.

King was aggressive in hunting his shot, and demonstrated his ability to score at all three levels. In particular, his mid-range jumper was on point, as he shot an impressive 67% for the game.

While Reuvers offensive output of 20 points were significant, his defensive presence against a long and athletic Indiana squad was necessary, and he played exceptional.

Wisconsin has been searching for a player or two to step up and carry the offensive load. King and Reuvers gave fans a glimmer of hope moving forward that they could be a strong duo as the season progresses.

No. 3: Defensive prowess

While defense was not the primary culprit for Wisconsin’s recent struggles, the Badgers got after it on the defensive end against Indiana. Coming in averaging 85.6 points per game, Indiana was unable to get going throughout the first half, scoring a season low 27 points.

The Hoosiers had four players averaging double-figures on the season entering the game, but Wisconsin was able to hold them in check for the most part. For the game, Indiana was held to only 64 points, tied for their lowest scoring total on the year.

Up next: Wisconsin will head to Rutgers on Wednesday aiming to continue the hot shooting with a 6 p.m. CST tip time.