Wisconsin men’s basketball was back in action Sunday night as they had another big test in the Big Ten as they hit the road to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Things got off to a slow start for both sides as in the first ten minutes each team struggled to find the bottom of the net. After 9 minutes Wisconsin held the lead 10-5. Later in the half, both teams got some things going including a couple of important threes by Connor McCaffrey to keep the Hawkeyes in the ball game early. Eventually, Iowa would crawl back with some focus on interior scoring to nod things up at 27 going into the half.
We're all tied up in Iowa City pic.twitter.com/CvONjjx76F— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) December 12, 2022
The Badgers would start the 2nd half by putting together a small lead but that quickly evaporated as Iowa went on a 10-0 run to give them a 37-31 lead to begin the half. However, when it seemed like the Badgers were beginning to really let things slip away they answered with a big run of their own to pull within one, 39-38.
Down the stretch, Wisconsin and Iowa would exchange baskets, but momentum really went in the Badger's favor as big man Steven Crowl put home a hook shot basket which was followed by a technical foul from Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffrey in his latest embarrassing tirade. I mean, how unintimidating is this?
We got Angry Fran right now. pic.twitter.com/vsQ7Fl9iGk— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 12, 2022
With a minute to play, it felt like guard Connor Essegian put the game on ice with a late three to extend the Badger's lead to 8. However, Iowa would get a bucket and a foul from Connor McCaffrey to pull the game within five.
Iowa would get another bucket to pull within three, but if Wisconsin could play secure basketball it felt like things were in hand. Unfortunately, they didn't, as a late turnover from Essegian allowed Iowa a look at a three-pointer which they buried to tie the game at 60. With seconds to play Chucky Hepburn had a look to win it, but the shot didn’t fall which sent things to overtime.
Late in overtime, Iowa would hold a 69-66 lead but Tyler Wahl gave the Badgers life as he stepped up for a three-pointer and knocked it down to tie the game up with two minutes to go. Iowa would answer right back to give them another three-point lead but Wisconsin did not cower as Jordan Davis let a three-pointer fly and buried it to tie things at 72.
"It's T, hi, Ty's the problem, it's T"— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) December 12, 2022
21 pts for @tjwahl01, including 7 in OT pic.twitter.com/N1JXePMURg
Iowa would knock down a free throw to give them a one-point lead but that allowed Wisconsin to get an offensive possession and Big Steve worked his post-game and buried another hook shot to give the Badgers the lead.
From there the Badgers would hang on for dear life but in the end, Wisconsin came away with a victory as Patrick McCaffrey was unable to hit the game-tying shot when the Hawkeyes trailed 78-75.
Not only is this a huge win because it's always good to beat Fran’s whining, but it’s also a huge win in the Big Ten as the Badgers now improve to 2-0 to get things started. Over the last week Wisconsin has had some big tests as they took on in-state rival Marquette, 13th-ranked Maryland, and rival Iowa on the road and came away victorious in each. The Badgers should be ranked in the next poll, and they’ll now have a little bit lighter schedule coming up as they take on Lehigh, Grambling State, and Western Michigan before getting back into Big Ten play.