Wisconsin basketball has certainly been creative in finding ways to lose in the last month, but none are going to beat what happened against Iowa at the Kohl Center on Thursday.
Iowa freshman Jordan Bohannon, little brother of former Wisconsin players Zach and Jason Bohannon, nailed a 3-pointer with 9 seconds left to give the Hawkeyes a 59-57 win. Finishing the game on the bad end of a 12-1 run, Wisconsin has now lost five its last six.
The first half contained what is becoming a common sight these days for Wisconsin: the Badgers and their opponent exchange blows until the Wisconsin offense goes dormant, leading to a very slow-developing run for the other team. This time, Wisconsin built a 23-17 lead, then failed to score for nearly 7 minutes. Iowa finished the first half with a 32-25 lead after a 15-2 run.
It was Iowa’s turn to go dry in the second half, which included a 10-minute span during which the Hawkeyes made a grand total of 2 field goals. During that span, a 2-point Iowa lead turned into a 9-point deficit as Wisconsin found its groove again on offense.
Wisconsin opting for the “Score Points” offense this half. Bold. pic.twitter.com/ZYbRzpdXri
— Big Ten Geek (@bigtengeek) March 3, 2017
Iowa rallied back to within 1 point with less than a minute to go, but Wisconsin had a chance to go up 3 for Wisconsin’s final possession with a pair of free throws. Unfortunately, it was Ethan Happ, he of the 50-percent free-throw shooting, at the line. Happ missed both and could only watch as Bohannon made his shot.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 3, 2017
Why Iowa won
The Wisconsin bench only scored 4 points on 2-of-8 shooting, the Badgers were out-rebounded 37-27, and they shot 5-of-14 from the free throw line. Even a strong defensive effort (outside of the last 4 minutes) couldn’t have saved Wisconsin from the issues that have plagued it in its last six games.
What it means
Wisconsin remains in free fall and lands in a three-way tie for second place in the Big Ten with Minnesota and Maryland at 11-6 in the conference. Less than a month ago, Wisconsin had a two-game lead for first place in the Big Ten. Now, it faces the prospect of landing outside the Big Ten’s top 4 for the first time since 2000, the year before Bo Ryan took over.
After being honored by the Ho-Chunk Thundercloud Singers in pregame, Bronson Koenig led the Badgers with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, 4-of-8 from the 3-point line.
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) November 26, 2015
All you need to know about Vitto Brown’s performance is that he was replaced by the seldom-used Aaron Moesch in the first half and then received only 5 second-half minutes. It might be time to talk about inserting a different forward into the starting lineup.
Who was there
Jason and Zach Bohannon were on hand to check out their little brother Jordan’s first game against their alma mater. They were shown emphatically cheering after Jordan’s game-winning shot.
Who is next
Wisconsin will desperately try to end the regular season on a good note on Senior Night at the Kohl Center, but they’ll be running into the hottest team in the Big Ten in rival Minnesota. Since a five-game losing streak that included a 78-76 overtime loss at home to the Badgers, the Gophers have won eight straight. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT (6 p.m. ET) on Sunday, and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.