In the first Big Ten battle of the year, the #14 men’s Iowa basketball team fell 72-66 to the #22 Wisconsin Badgers. Here is the recap and takeaways.
The men’s Iowa basketball team got off to an unbelievable start to begin the season as they won their first six games. Last night at Carver Hawkeye Arena, the hot streak came to an end as the #22 Wisconsin Badgers came to town and were able to walk away victorious in a game that it certainly felt like the Hawks should win.
If that doesn’t sound familiar, it should because just two months ago the football team fell to the Badgers at home in a game that they were leading for three quarters. Unlike in football though, losses are expected even for great teams, and there were quite a few positives from this game that leave me excited to see what the Iowa basketball team can do this year.
Coming into this game, we said that fouls would be a huge factor for both teams. Wisconsin is one of the best teams in the country at minimizing fouls while the Iowa basketball team is one of the best in the country at forcing fouls on the opposing team.
It was a big factor last night in the game play, and it almost became a very important key-note when Wisconsin’s best player (Ethan Happ) fouled out with a minute left in the game, but Wisconsin was able to hold on for the victory.
Throughout the game, as anticipated, Iowa continued to attack the Wisconsin defense using an array of pump fakes to bate the Badgers into fouling, and looking at the box score it worked. Wisconsin committed 24 fouls on the game, which is 10 fouls higher than their per game average. The Iowa basketball team, however, was only able to make 19 trips to the free throw line, significantly below their average of 35.
Wisconsin held the lead for the majority of the first half until Iowa was able to close the gap late to head into half time tied at 27. The Hawkeyes were struggling to get anything going consistently on the offensive side of the ball and could not connect from behind the arc (2 for 12). Coming out of the break, however, the Hawks went on a run scoring seven straight points to build a 43-36 lead.
Credit to the Badgers because they continued to chip away at the score until they finally grabbed the lead with just over six minutes remaining as sophomore guard D’Mitrik Trice connected on a pair of free throws. The Badgers never relinquished the lead from that point forward, but Iowa didn’t just hand them the game.
With Wisconsin up 65-63 with 46 seconds remaining, Trice came through again hitting a three-pointer. Junior team leader Jordan Bohannon frantically ran down the court and popped a deep three-pointer just five seconds later though that went in. Wisconsin still clung to a two-point lead with 20 seconds remaining and it came down to free throws, which Wisconsin converted on each one to seal the deal.
Forward Tyler cook paced the Hawks in points with 19 on 8 of 15 shooting and also brought in 15 boards while Luke Garza and Jordan Bohannon tied for second in points with 11. Cook, Bohannon and Joe Wieskamp all played over thirty minutes while starting guard Isaiah Moss played just 12 minutes.
It was undoubtedly not Iowa’s best shooting performance as they connected on just 39% of their field goals and just 25% from three-point, and they turned the ball over 12 times, but losing a close game to a strong Wisconsin team isn’t the end of the world. Moreover, unlike football we get to move on (and have to move on very quickly) as the Iowa basketball team prepares to face #9 Michigan State Monday evening.