Indiana suffered a home loss on Saturday afternoon against the Wisconsin Badgers in their last regular season game of the year.
After a late run down the stretch, the Badgers defeated Indiana 60-56 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. in what was a low scoring contest.
After a Race Thompson made free throw put Indiana up 51-44 with 6:52 remaining, Wisconsin finished the game on a 16-5 run.
“They did a great job of being able to claw and hang, and then I thought that their front court really finished us off, Indiana head coach Archie Miller said.
“You know, they got us on the offensive boards when we switched into clock situations to take away the three, and they were able to convert on a couple big, you know, jump hooks, two points, in and around the basket and made some timely plays.”
After riding the hot hand of Devonte Green for much of the first half, the senior guard was held scoreless in the second period after suffering an ankle injury. Paired with Indiana’s inability to finish around the rim (14-of-43 on two-pointers) and Wisconsin hitting timely shots, and the second half did not go IU’s way.
“Last two minutes when we actually got some stops and the ball was coming back down, we had some easy ones that didn’t go in. Race tip-dunk didn’t go in. Devonte had a runner right in front of the rim; didn’t go in. We just couldn’t convert. Inside the paint, the percentage is what it is. We didn’t finish,” Miller said.
Indiana’s strength all season has been getting the ball inside offensively early and often. However, today the formula to secure win number 20 was different.
Devonte Green had the hot hand in the first half and IU rode it. Of the 28 points the Hoosiers scored in the first 20 minutes of action, Green had 16 on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Another key to IU’s success early was their ability to hold Wisconsin to 25 points on 9-of-24, or 37.5 percent, shooting from the field. The Hoosiers went into the locker room holding a 28-25 lead while only turning the ball over six times.
Nate Reuvers led the Badgers with 17 points, but Miller did not just highlight one specific player when talking about Wisconsin’s success. Rather, he focused on the entire team’s toughness.
“They make threes. They got a difficult style to play against and defensively, they keep their bigs back and they make things hard. You gotta shoot in between the big and the rim, and that’s why for about 20 years, they have been pretty good. They have got unbelievable size and skill,” Miller said.
Despite the difficult loss, Archie Miller still believes that Indiana belongs in the NCAA Tournament when the brackets are revealed on March 15.
“If you have a strength of record of Top-25, you had a good schedule and you beat good teams, you should be in the tournament,” Miller said.
Inside The Numbers:
Devonte Green was the only player in double figures for IU, scoring 16 points. Race Thompson was IU’s leading rebounder with 11.
IU won the rebounding battle 38-34 and 12-6 on the offensive glass.
For the game, Indiana was 20-of-58, or 34.5 percent, from the field including 6-of-15, or 40 percent, from three-point range.
The Hoosiers were 10-of-15, or 66.7 percent, from the foul line.
IU had nine assists compared to seven turnovers, while Wisconsin had 12 assists and 10 turnovers.
Indiana (19-12, 9-11) will prepare for the Big Ten Tournament held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Hoosiers will be the No. 11 seed and will play either Nebraska or Northwestern.
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