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Wisconsin men’s basketball: three things from the road win over Indiana

A look back at what stood out from the huge win in Bloomington.

Wisconsin v Indiana Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers once again found a way to win on the road, taking down the Indiana Hoosiers by five, 74-69, on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall.

Let’s dig in to some of the storylines that emerged from the huge Big Ten victory.

Three things that stood out...

No. 1: Backcourt bounce-back

Both Johnny Davis and Brad Davison struggled against Rutgers last weekend. The duo combined for only 20 points on 23 shot attempts against the Scarlet Knights, including 1-of-12 shooting from three.

Against Indiana, the duo combined for 20 by halftime on 5-of-9 shooting with both players putting together key scoring stretches when the team needed it most. While the fact that they equaled their output against Rutgers quickly in the game was impressive, the ability of Davis and Davison to carry the team in the second half was the story.

The backcourt duo combined for 31 second-half points and 51 overall to lead the Wisconsin not only back into the game, but into a late lead. Davis and Davison have been the team’s leading scorers all season long, but with Tyler Wahl unable to get going offensively, they delivered big-time. Davis specially delivered in crunch time, and it was great to see Davison play better after four straight subpar games.

Wisconsin is still in the thick of things for a Big Ten title if they can string together some wins, and more performances from the starting backcourt like Tuesday night would go a long way in helping them reach that goal. Shout out to Chucky Hepburn for also adding eight points and three assists with no turnovers. He continues to impress as well.

No. 2: Inside action

Tyler Wahl struggled on both ends of the court most of the game, as the length and athletic ability of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson were on full display. Wahl was uncharacteristically bad finishing around the rim, and also added four turnovers on offense. Wahl’s frontcourt running mate, Steven Crowl, was his normal self on offense, but could not hold his own while defending the two Indiana big men.

Jackson-Davis and Thompson have had success most of the year, but the duo was nearly unstoppable on Tuesday night with 43 combined points and 16 rebounds on 71.4% shooting. Jackson-Davis was particularly impressive, as Wisconsin had absolutely no answer for the lefty star who added 30 points individually and also added six assists.

The low post defense will need to be better especially with a game against Michigan and Hunter Dickinson looming on Sunday, but in the end, the Badgers were able to win the game though and that is all that matters.

No. 3: Late game execution

One of the primary reasons the Badgers lost to Rutgers over the weekend was how poorly they played late in the game. Turnovers and a big scoring drought in the final minutes absolutely killed them, and ultimately lost them the game.

The roles were reversed on Tuesday night.

Wisconsin finished on an 8-0 run in the final 1:40 and locked down defensively to force Indiana to miss nine of their last 10 shot attempts.

Johnny Davis did the bulk of the heavy lifting for the Badgers late in the game, but the team composure on the road, in a tough environment really stood out.

This Wisconsin team continues to be resilient following tough losses and move on quickly when they hit roadblocks. In a big game with conference title implications, the Badgers once again found a way to fight back and win.

Credit the players for their ability to weather the storm, but Greg Gard continues to put together a really strong case for Big Ten Coach of the Year considering the youth of the team and the number of close wins that have gone Wisconsin’s way.

Up next: The Badgers take on Michigan this Sunday. The game is scheduled to be aired on CBS with tip time set for 12 p.m. CT from the Kohl Center.