The wheels fell off the bus for the Hoosiers in the second half as they let a 17-point halftime lead slip through their fingers. They remain winless at the Kohl Center since January 1998 after the 64-59 loss to No. 22 Wisconsin.
The team started a bit flat, shooting 0-for-6 before making their first basket on a Race Thompson put-back. After that, the offense found its rhythm. Parker Stewart came back on the next possession to hit a three– his first of three on the night, and nine first-half points.
Eventually, the Hoosiers went on a 22-4 run. Five starters and two bench players managed to contribute to the scoring and they found themselves up 22-points at one point courtesy of Xavier Johnson. The senior point guard had seven points, six assists, and five rebounds and controlled most of IU’s tempo in the first half.
“We got stops, we got the ball movement,” Woodson said of the first half.
However, it was another story in the second half. The Badgers ended the first half on a small 5-0 run all from Johnny Davis. But that stretched into the second half and became a bigger issue for the Hoosiers.
“It was like we were in quicksand the second half. You do the same things that get you the lead, you got to play the same way, and that’s got to register. And it didn’t the second half.”
Wisconsin’s run ended at 15-5 after an alley-oop to Trayce Jackson-Davis, who laid it in. Still, the team did not have many answers offensively in the second half. The Hoosiers shot 7-of-31 from the field for 22.6 percent, and 0-for-5 from downtown.
After a heroic first half, Johnson struggled as well. He was forced into many bad shots and could not convert on critical plays down the stretch. He went 1-for-10 in the second half and missed the front end of a 1-and-1 that would have cut the deficit to two.
Johnson finished the game shooting 4-of-16, for 25 percent, and 2-for-6 from the free-throw line, with three turnovers, and four fouls.
“He’s got to learn and figure out from watching film when he has it and when he doesn’t have it. That’s what good point guards do and he struggled tonight,” Woodson said of Johnson.
“He was driving the ball in and trying to draw fouls and they weren’t giving him any of those calls.”
The transfer from Pitt still maturely answered for his mistakes to the media and took responsibility for the result of the game.
“As a leader of this team and point guard of this team, I’ll take credit for this game.”
Perhaps Johnson was trying to do too much as the Preseason All-American, Jackson-Davis, was almost invisible in the second half. Jackson-Davis had six points in the first half and finished with a total of nine on 4-of-10 shooting. He was well short of his 21 points per game and 12.6 shot attempts per game.
“We just couldn’t make shots,” said Woodson. “I got to find ways to get Trayce and Race more shots down low. He missed some chippies but he didn’t get enough shots, I think.”
Woodson, however, does not think that was the difference-maker in the loss. The Hoosiers shot 6-of-13 from the charity stripe for 46.2 percent. Many of those were crucial ones with under four minutes left in the game.
“We missed free throws going down the home stretch and we couldn’t get the critical stops that we needed,” Woodson added.
The Badgers took advantage of missed opportunities as Davis hit a fade-away three for their first lead since being up 5-2. It was three of the 23 that Davis had on the night, but none more significant.
“You got to do everything, especially on the road, to secure wins. You got to do everything right for 40 minutes,” Woodson said.
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