Indiana is firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble now after a 74-69 loss to Wisconsin in Bloomington.
The Hoosiers led for most of the first half and by as many as seven points with 5:33 remaining until halftime before squandering the lead to trail 32-31 at the break. IU once again seized control in the second half and claimed another seven point lead. They led 66-61 with 3:52 remaining before again giving it away at the end.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers lost with another edition of The Report Card.
IU (16-9, 7-8) will next travel to Ohio State for a Monday evening contest in Columbus.
Indiana’s offense was improved compared to its last few games, but tragically flawed at the end. They made just one of their last 10 shots, and that was in large part because the Hoosiers got away from what was working.
Race Thompson scored six points in the first 5:13 of the game but finished with just 13 as IU struggled to find him the rest of the way. His frontcourt teammate Trayce Jackson-Davis was dominant, scoring 30 points on the night. But he had just one field goal attempt in the final 9:33 of the game.
“The times we got it inside, you know, Trayce made them pay for it,” coach Mike Woodson said. “He was great. Made his free throws. I don’t think we milked it enough. I kept trying to go to him because they couldn’t stop him. Him being so unselfish, he kept letting the ball come out and we just couldn’t make shots.”
While Jackson-Davis didn’t get shots late, he did keep going to the line where he made 10-of-14. But on IU’s final four possessions, they came up empty.
“We finally stopped fouling, that was the biggest thing,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “We kept putting Trayce at the line. I think that was the biggest thing.”
Indiana scored .956 points per possession, and that’s only been enough to beat two high majors all year — Nebraska and Notre Dame back in December.
The Hoosiers had 14 assists on 25 field goals, but they had 12 turnovers including seven in the second half. And ultimately, IU just didn’t finish down the stretch, missing their final six 3-pointers after starting the game 5-of-12 from distance.
The game flipped in the final few minutes on the defensive end of the floor as well.
Likely All-American guard Johnny Davis scored Wisconsin’s final 13 points over 3:35 and Indiana could only helplessly watch.
“Some of it was scripted down the stretch and there were some things that obviously he makes terrific plays on his own,” Gard said of Davis. “He can create something out of nothing at times.”
That run by Davis started with Parker Stewart trying to guard him, but Woodson switched to Miller Kopp midway through.
“It didn’t matter who we put on him (Davis), he just had a good game,” Woodson. “I thought Miller played him well early. I thought Parker played him well in stretches. Coming down the stretch couldn’t nobody play him. He had a great game.”
It was a game where Rob Phinisee could have added a lot of value on the defensive end, as he could have taken the Brad Davison assignment and allowed Trey Galloway to give IU its best shot to slow down Davis.
In large part due to Davis — Galloway, Kopp and Stewart all ended up with four fouls. Indiana as a team had 25 fouls and they sent Wisconsin to the free throw line for 29 attempts. That gave the Badgers the easy way out.
“They didn’t get a chance to go through our defense because we put them on the line so much,” Woodson said. “That’s tough coming down the stretch when they don’t have to execute their offense.”
There were things to like. Indiana’s defense held Wisconsin to 25 percent shooting from the 3-point line and forced 13 Wisconsin turnovers, well above their 8.4 per game average. The Badgers ended up with just eight assists on their 24 field goals.
But Wisconsin scored 1.025 points per possession, and IU typically loses when they allow teams to go over one. Wisconsin’s 55.8 percent free throw rate (free throw attempts / field goal attempts) was the highest allowed by Indiana this season.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Final box score, highlights, keys to the game and specialty stats
- Woodson and Jackson-Davis post-game
- Hoosiers can’t finish, fall to Wisconsin again
- Long form highlights:
Trayce Jackson-Davis (A-) He played about as well as he could have, making the right read to pass for a career high six assists. Jackson-Davis made 10-of-13 shots, 10-of-14 free throws, and he had eight rebounds. There was just that one late possession where he should have imposed his will rather than pass it out to Xavier Johnson.
Race Thompson (B) Thompson was solid, especially early on the offensive end. Defensively the two guys he primarily dealt with — Tyler Wahl and Ben Carlson — combined for four points and five turnovers.
Xavier Johnson (F) Johnson played exactly how Wisconsin wanted him to, taking off balance mid-range shots and threes. The results were disastrous as Johnson went 3-of-16 and never got to the line. He also had five turnovers and didn’t force freshman point guard Chucky Hepburn to commit any.
Miller Kopp (D) Kopp only got up two shots in 24 minutes as Wisconsin stuck to him on his spots on the perimeter. He did reasonably well on Davis defensively in the first half, but once Davis decided to take over, things changed quickly.
Trey Galloway (C+) In his third straight start Galloway got into foul trouble, contributing to Wisconsin’s parade to the line. He hit a three early in the second half to help slow a Wisconsin surge, but Galloway missed some makeable shots from two he’d like to have back.
Jordan Geronimo (C) Geronimo is in a bad pattern of fouling excessively, although one was clearly a bad call when he had all ball on a Davis drive into the paint. A block and three rebounds in seven minutes highlights the positive of how active he was.
Parker Stewart (C) Stewart was able to find space for threes, a must for him to deliver value. But he was a total mismatch against Davis, and had a couple turnovers in 21 minutes.
Tamar Bates (C-) Indiana could have used a much more productive day from Bates, and likely could have used his defense as well. But he reverted to a freshman slump that saw him go 0-of-5 on the night.
Khristian Lander (D) Lander got to the rim a couple times and delivered once, but he played nervous and had a turnover and was beat on the defensive end a couple times.
Michael Durr (C+) Durr gave some serviceable minutes to give Jackson-Davis some rest.
Anthony Leal and Logan Duncomb did not play. Rob Phinisee was out with a foot injury.
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