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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Indiana recap

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The Badgers take care of business against Indiana in double-overtime, winning 80-73.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

After a big rivalry win over Minnesota on New Year’s Eve, and a contest that had to be postponed with Penn State, the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2 overall, 4-1 B1G) were finally back on the court against the Indiana Hoosiers (7-5 overall, 2-3 B1G) Thursday evening.

The Hoosiers came into the game sporting back-to-back wins over Penn State and Maryland, but shortly before game time it was announced that second leading scorer Armaan Franklin would miss the game due to an ankle injury.

Wisconsin was able to shake off a long layover between games and get a close win over Indiana in double-overtime, 80-73.

In the first few minutes of the game, the Badgers once again made it a point to go inside to big man Micah Potter with mixed results. Wisconsin was able to take a 5-4 lead into the first media timeout despite three early turnovers and a two minute scoring drought.

Indiana was able to secure some momentum in the minutes following though to take a sight lead with 11 minutes remaining in the first half thanks to a 7-0 run.

Wisconsin responded emphatically with a 12-0 run of their own spearheaded by some great ball movement by D’Mitrik Trice and a pair of three-point makes from Aleem Ford. Wisconsin was able to distance themselves a bit from Indiana during the middle of the half to hold a 25-15 lead with 3:43 remaining in the first stanza.

Over the final few minutes of the half, Indiana was able to hit two key three-pointers by Anthony Leal in order to cut the Wisconsin advantage to only five at halftime.

In the opening moments of the second half Indiana was able to shoot well from the field making 4-of-5 to trim the Wisconsin lead to four at the first media timeout. The two teams would continue to exchange buckets, but Wisconsin was able to get into the bonus with under 11 minutes to play and swing momentum back their way.

Indiana would not go away though, as Trayce Jackson-Davis was unstoppable in the middle part of the second half. The sophomore standout had things tied up at 50 at the 7:40 mark. Over the remaining minutes of regulation, Indiana had multiple chances to close the door on Wisconsin, but the Badgers were able to even things up and force overtime.

In extra time, the two teams went back and forth, as everytime Indiana would take a lead D’Mitrik Trice would come up clutch for the Badgers in response to force a second overtime.

In the second overtime the story was Tyler Wahl. The sophomore forward hit two absolutely colossal three-pointers on consecutive possessions to push the Badgers out of reach for a 80-73 win.

Notable stat lines:

  • D’Mitrik Trice —> 21 points (7-of-15 shooting), three rebounds, seven assists
  • Tyler Wahl —> 12 points (4-of-6 shooting), two rebounds, one assist
  • Nate Reuvers —> 14 points (4-of-12 shooting), four rebounds, three assists
  • Trayce Jackson-Davis—> 23 points (10-of-16 shooting), 12 rebounds, four assists

Three things that stood out

No. 1: Nate Reuvers + D’Mitrik Trice

The Badgers leading scorer from a year ago, Nate Reuvers has had his fair share of struggles lately. Entering the game against Indiana, Reuvers had only scored in double-figures one time (against Nebraska) in the past seven contests dating back to early December. During that same time frame, Reuvers was only able to connect on three three-pointers, and was not nearly as active defensively either with six total blocks compared to 10 in his first four games of the year.

Against Indiana, Reuvers once again struggled for large parts of the game from the field and was also seemingly lost on the defensive end against Trayce Jackson-Davis at times. Reuvers was able to get into double-figures with 14 points for the first time in three games, and had a pair of crucial buckets late in the second half, but the Badgers will need greater consistency from him on both ends if they want to reach their ceiling this season.

While Reuvers had a very uneven performance, the real story was the continued strong play by D’Mitrik Trice. The senior guard has proven to be the Badgers best player this season and is putting together an all-conference like performance in his final season in Madison. Trice was not only great as a scorer (21 points), but he was also a magician with the ball in his hands as a distributor with seven assists.

No. 2: Paint problems

The Badgers were thoroughly outclassed in the paint against Maryland, as the Terrapins were +18 inside against Wisconsin.

Well, Indiana was able to do the same thing. The Hoosiers went inside on the Badgers frequently, and were able do so effectively at will in the second half.

Trayce Jackson-Davis is one of the best players in the Big Ten for a reason, but both Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter were unable to slow him down for most of the game.

Indiana outscored Wisconsin 44 to 32 in the paint, despite Indiana having foul trouble for most of the second half. Wisconsin has struggled as of late to protect the rim, and that will need to be cleaned up with a big stretch of games upcoming in Big Ten play.

No. 3: Late game rotation

Over the final key moments of regulation and during both overtimes Greg Gard went with essentially the same five the entire time. D’Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison, Jonathan Davis, Tyler Wahl and Nate Reuvers closed the game out.

In the second overtime after a foul on Nate Reuvers, Micah Potter came back in for the first time since late in the second half for a minute, but the rotation was very tight for Gard in crunch time.

The decision to go with Tyler Wahl and Jonathan Davis seemed to pan out well, as Wahl hit two absolutely huge three-pointers in the second overtime to completely swing momentum in the Badgers favor. Davis led the team with eight boards and seemed to be in the right place at every turn. In a must win game, the two youngsters were instrumental in helping the Wisconsin eek out a victory.

Up next: Wisconsin will be back in action next week Tuesday for a monumental road matchup with the undefeated (10-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten) No. 10 Michigan Wolverines. The game will be aired on ESPN at 6 p.m. CST.