The Washington Times-Herald

The "Z" Watch

January 16, 2013

No. 2 Hoosiers go cold in second half

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana's Victor Oladipo was unusually quiet Tuesday night.

His coach, Tom Crean, was brief, too.

There just wasn't much to say after Ryan Evans scored 13 points and Traevon Jackson added 11, leading unranked Wisconsin to a 64-59 upset of No. 2 Indiana.

"We just didn't hit shots and they hit a lot of crazy shots and we didn't defend well," Oladipo said.

The loss ended Indiana's six-game winning streak, an 18-game winning streak on its home court and prevented the Hoosiers from taking sole possession of the Big Ten lead.

Instead the surprising Badgers (13-4, 4-0) are the last unbeaten team in conference play.

And nobody was more surprised by Tuesday's performance than the Hoosiers. The nation's highest-scoring team scored fewer than 60 points for the first time all season and shot a season-low 37 percent. Cody Zeller finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds but followed a near perfect first half, going 8 of 8 from the floor and 2 of 3 from the free-throw line, by going 1 of 7 from the field in the second half.

Christian Watford had 11 points and Oladipo added 10.

What happened?

"Tonight when we weren't making shots, especially the ones that were open, we also didn't come down and stay as disciplined as we needed to be defensively," coach Tom Crean said. "They beat us off the dribble a little bit and the first half our problem was that we were holding our rotations too long and overhelping on defense, which is something you don't need to do against Wisconsin."

And, as usual, the Badgers looked right at home inside Assembly Hall.

Wisconsin has won 11 consecutive games in this series, matching the second-longest streak of any school Indiana has played. The Badgers also won 11 straight over Indiana from 1912-19 and Purdue won 12 straight from 1908-14.

That's not all.

The Badgers (13-2, 4-0) are the first team since 1923 to win a fifth consecutive game in Bloomington, matching a record achieved only three other times, most recently by Purdue, and they still have not lost to Crean since he arrived in Bloomington in 2008.

Wisconsin has now won seven straight, beaten two Top 15 teams in four days and ended Indiana's home-court winning streak and all with coach Bo Ryan feeling less than 100 percent.

"I really liked how hard our guys played, the adjustments our guys made on the court. I thought our assistant coaches did a great job in practice, getting us ready for this game because the head coach is a little under the weather," Ryan said. "It' like whoa! I feel like someone just took me in the corner and worked me over."

The Badgers won this one the way always seem to - by slowing the pace, taking advantage of opportunities and limiting the turnovers. That's Badgers basketball.

In fact, the Badgers followed the script perfectly.

They committed just eight turnovers and took advantage of seemingly every opportunity they had, especially in the second half as Hoosiers fans moaned and groaned about everything from missed shots to errant passes.

"It's huge you know," Jackson said. "We'll celebrate for 24 hours and then we got to get ready for Iowa. Just got to get ready for another one."

Indiana opened the second half with a three-point play to extend its halftime lead to 35-31, but managed only six points over the next 6:34.

The drought opened the door for Wisconsin, which rallied with a 7-0 run to take a 38-37 lead. A few minutes later, the Badgers were off on a 9-0 spurt that ended when Mike Bruesewitz's 3 beat the shot-clock buzzer to give Wisconsin a 47-39 lead.

"They bait you with their drives and kicks," Crean said. "In the second half, they made shots and some of them reminded me of the Michael Jordan-Larry Bird McDonald's commercial."

Wisconsin led by as much as 51-41 before the Hoosiers finally cranked up the pressure.

Indiana scored four straight and after Evans made 1 of 2 free throws, the Hoosiers scored six straight to pull to 52-51 on Yogi Ferrell's 3 with 4:40 to go.

But that was as close as Indiana got.

Ben Brust made a 17-foot jumper and the Badgers closed it out with a game-ending 12-8 run.

"It's just what we normally do," Ryan said. "We try to take away giving up easy baskets. I think everybody in the country says that, and then you've got to do it. Our guys have bought into that, especially tonight because Indiana is that good."

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