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Three quick takeaways from the Badgers 83-72 win over Iowa

Free throws were the determining factor in the Badgers second conference win.

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Mark Hoffman / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 83-72 to start their major stretch of conference play, using a 51-point second half to push ahead to victory in one of their highest-scoring performances of the season.

It was an efficient game for the Badgers inside the arc, as the team overcame their continued three-point shooting struggles by shooting 63.8 percent inside the arc in the win.

Defensively, the Badgers held Iowa’s leading scorer Blake Krikke to just 10 points due to foul trouble, while Payton Sandfort scored only nine points on 3/11 shooting as well.

Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers 83-72 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Free throws

You have to talk about the free throw shooting in this one, because it arguably was the difference-maker in the game.

The Badgers shot 35 (yes, 35) free throws, as Iowa fouled them 22 times, with Tyler Wahl shooting 13 free throws and hitting 11.

As a team, the Badgers hit only 25 of their opportunities, but it was good enough to win, as they looked to attack the paint at a high rate.

With the 13 free throw attempts, Tyler Wahl ended with 19 points, while A.J. Storr had 16 and Max Klesmit had 15 on the day.

Klesmit went to the free throw line eight times as well, hitting six of those shots in a successful day.

The 35-16 free throw advantage was ultimately the biggest factor in Wisconsin’s win, as 26 of the Badgers’ attempts came in the second half.

Kamari McGee

Chucky Hepburn was available on Tuesday after suffering a lower-body injury in Wisconsin’s last game against Chicago State, but played 25 minutes, nearly on par with freshman guard John Blackwell.

That opened up the possibility for backup point guard Kamari McGee to get some minutes, and he took advantage of the opportunity.

While it may not show up on the stat sheet, McGee provided the Badgers with energy minutes, recording three steals in the first half and making an impact on the defensive front.

McGee ended with a +5 plus/minus, which was the best of any bench player, in his ten minutes of action.

With Hepburn still getting to 100 percent, the Badgers will need their contingent of backup guards, and McGee did well in his role on Tuesday.

Three-point struggles

It didn’t matter on Tuesday with their efficiency inside the arc, but the Badgers’ three-point struggles showed up against Iowa, as the team shot 4/16 from behind the arc.

Guards A.J. Storr and Max Klesmit shot 50 percent or higher from the field, but combined to hit just 2/11 from three in a tough shooting performance.

The Badgers have shot 32 percent from three this season, but have the personnel to be better as Max Klesmit, Chucky Hepburn, and A.J. Storr all shot above 38 percent from beyond the arc last season.

This year? Klesmit is the highest of the bunch... at 30.6 percent. Storr is hitting 29.8 percent of his threes, while Hepburn is converting on just 25.6 percent.

Another factor, Connor Essegian, is shooting just 25 percent from three on limited volume after hitting 35.9 percent of his threes last season.

The Badgers have showcased they can have good shooting performances this season, but the impressive part is they’ve consistently found a way to adjust when the three isn’t falling like they did on Tuesday by hitting the paint hard and getting fouled.

If the Badgers can piece it all together, their offense will become even better than it currently is, making them one of the most dangerous teams in the country.