MADISON—How fitting it was for two seniors to lead the way to a Wisconsin Badgers victory on Thursday night inside the Kohl Center.
Honored prior to the game, Ethan Happ recorded a game-high 21 points 14 rebounds while Khalil Iverson tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds in a dominant 65-45 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Both senior forwards recorded double-doubles—with Iverson registering the first of his career. Happ—shooting exactly 45 percent from the line heading into UW’s 30th game of the season—made 11 of 18 free throws in the contest while scoring 16 of his 21 in the final 20 minutes.
Wisconsin (21-9, 13-6 Big Ten) finished the game hitting only 40.7 percent of its attempts from the field (22 of 54), including just 20 percent (four of 20) from three-point range. One of the best in the nation in protecting possessions, Greg Gard’s team also committed 12 of its 17 turnovers in the second half.
However, UW contained Iowa (21-9, 10-9) to a frigid 30.5 percent shooting. That included holding the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer, forward Tyler Cook, to zero points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes.
No Hawkeye scored in double figures, with guard Jordan Bohannon and forward Ryan Kreiner contributing eight points each in the loss. Iowa connected on just five of 27 three-point attempts, with Bohannon and Joe Wieskamp combining to make just three of 12 shots from deep.
As @jasonbenetti said, "Welcome to Senior Night!"— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 8, 2019
And @BadgerMBB's Khalil Iverson needs no introduction. pic.twitter.com/nQv56qWUIh
Poor shooting plagued both teams in the first half, but Wisconsin took a 31-22 lead into halftime. UW forced seven Iowa turnovers and contained the Hawkeyes to just 29.6 percent (8-of-27) shooting in the first 20 minutes.
The Badgers did not fare much better, shooting 35.7 percent from the field and only 18.2 (2-of-11) from three-point range. However, the team made nine of 14 free throw attempts. Happ connected on five of those eight from the line, which were his only points in the first half, along with contributing four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals. Iverson tied for the team lead with seven points while also grabbing four rebounds.
Wisconsin saw significant contributions from its bench with 13 points. Forward Aleem Ford recorded seven of his nine points in the first half, and finished the game with five rebounds as well.
The Badgers extended that halftime advantage in the early stages of the second half, with Nate Reuvers’ dunk at the 19:27 mark setting the tone early. Happ scored Wisconsin’s next seven points that was part of an 11-4 run in a 4:39 stretch to start the half. A D’Mitrik Trice jumper pushed the lead to 42-26 with 14:48 remaining.
"Does that play not sum up everything @EthanHapp22 does?"— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 8, 2019
A defensive rebound, some slick handles, a nice feed, two offensive rebounds and a bucket. All in the same sequence. ✅
Happ's turning in a grand finale for @BadgerMBB: pic.twitter.com/hXQ7UP7FaD
Iowa’s deficit only continued to climb further, at one point by as much as 23 points with 9:01 left in the game. The Hawkeyes tried to claw their way back out of the hole, but it only grew deeper.
Coming back to within 18 at 55-37 after a Luka Garza layup at the 6:01 mark, a 10-0 Wisconsin run halted any Iowa momentum and made the game’s outcome concrete.
With 2:25 remaining in the last home game of the 2018-19 season—and in his career as a Badger—Happ hit his 10th and 11th free throws of the contest to give Wisconsin a 28-point advantage at 65-37. That final free throw clinched a career-high for the redshirt senior All-American candidate.
Between those two free throws, Iverson left the floor and Happ exited after connecting on both attempts. They received large cheers from the Wisconsin faithful who saw their Badgers tame the Hawkeyes to just 31.3 percent shooting in the second half (10 of 32).
It's been a privilege to watch you hoop, @EthanHapp22.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 8, 2019
The @BadgerMBB senior walks off the Kohl Center floor for the final time to a standing ovation. pic.twitter.com/tud2NLPPE4
Iowa also committed 25 fouls and 15 turnovers altogether in the loss. Wisconsin also dominated in total rebounds (49 to 29), offensive rebounds (15 to seven), second chance points (23 to seven) and points in the paint (36 to 18).
In his final home game, Happ finished strong—making five of eight attempts from the field and six of 10 from the free throw line in the second half.