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Wisconsin basketball: Iowa recap

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The Badgers blow a big lead on the road and fall to the Hawkeyes, 68-62.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (12-9 overall, 5-5 B1G) were on the road again, taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes (15-5 overall, 6-3 B1G) in Iowa City.

Without the services of starting small forward Kobe King, who did not travel with the team, the Badgers would fight admirably for 32 minutes, but would fall victim to late game struggles again, losing 68-62.

Entering the game winners for three straight, Iowa took a slight edge into the first and second media timeout, as each team attempted to feel their opponent out on the offensive end. The Badgers would eventually tie the game up though at the eight minute mark thanks to some great low-post defense on Luka Garza,

In the waning moments of the first half, Wisconsin was able to setting in, and began to hit some shots thanks to some strong play by D’Mitrik Trice as a scorer and distributor. Wisconsin went into the halftime all knotted up with the Hawkeyes at 30.

Coming out of halftime, Brad Davison came out firing, making back-to-back three-pointers in the first minute of action. His hot shooting helped propel the Badgers offense to take a seven point lead at the first media timeout.

Wisconsin would continue their offensive resurgence thanks to some stellar post play by Nate Reuvers on each end of the court against Luka Garza, leading to an 11 point margin in favor of the Badgers at just under eight minutes to play.

It was not to be though, as Wisconsin would falter down the stretch thanks to a huge run by Iowa. In the final minutes, a flagrant foul by Brad Davison would put the game outside of striking distance, as the Hawkeyes would secure a big home win 68-62.

Notable stat lines:

  • D’Mitrik Trice —> 15 points (5-of-10 from the floor), six assists, nine rebounds
  • Nate Reuvers —> 13 points (6-of-15 from the floor), two blocks, three rebounds
  • Micah Potter —> 7 points (3-of-7 from the floor), six rebound, two blocks
  • Luka Garza —> 21 points (6-of-17 from the floor), 18 rebounds, three blocks

Three things that stood out:

No. 1: Glass cleaner

After being severely outworked by Purdue on the boards last week, the Badgers did a much better job on the glass against Iowa. Wisconsin was much improved in blocking out, and were also aggressive for the boards. For a team that is dead last in the conference in rebounding at 33 per game, Wisconsin held their own against the Hawkeyes, who had the conferences rebounding leader in Luka Garza.

For the night, Wisconsin would reel in 40 rebounds, a vast improvement from the game previous. While the Badgers would ultimately come up short in the end, the shorthanded squad appeared to put up a much better fight against Iowa.

One player who in particular did a nice job rebounding was freshman Tyler Wahl, who was making his first career start in place of Kobe King. Wahl finished with seven boards, and he did a great defensively.

No. 2: Tempo

While the game was not particularly exciting, or robust in terms of scoring, the Badgers did a nice job of dictating the pace of play. Wisconsin had struggled the past few games when teams were able to push the Badgers out of their comfort zone. Against Iowa, Wisconsin limited the transition opportunities that the Hawkeyes had, and that allowed the Badgers to set up on each end of the court and pick how the game would be played.

Wisconsin throughout the game did a great job of dictating the tempo in their favor, but the late game instability would doom them in the end.

No. 3: Trice, Trice, baby

Without Kobe King, D’Mitrik Trice was more aggressive, and upped his production. Normally averaging just above eight shots per game this season, Trice was visibly more adamant in hunting his shot. The junior point guard took 10 shots against Iowa, and was great at creating opportunities for his teammates with six assists.

With some uncertainty each night about where the scoring production will come from, an aggressive D’Mitrik Trice could go a long way in improving a mediocre Wisconsin offense. Trice was particularly good in the pick and roll, where he elevated on multiple occasions to hit in rhythm jumpers, but also was willing to hit the cutting big man if the defense over-pursued.

Up next: Wisconsin will look to knock off the conference leading Michigan State Spartans on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. CST on FOX.