Wisconsin Badgers Get Huge Road Win at No. 8 Iowa

Feb 24, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Jordan Hill (11) goes to the basket against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first half at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Jordan Hill (11) goes to the basket against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first half at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

The Wisconsin Badgers added a big win Wednesday night

The Wisconsin Badgers got quite possibly the biggest win of their 2015-16 season to date Wednesday night as they went to Iowa and beat the No. 8 team in the country, silencing most national critics who might have still had UW on the NCAA tourney bubble.

Related Story: Iowa Victory Could Seal Badgers Tournament Hopes

Wisconsin’s bench came to play Wednesday night, as did their defense for the last six minutes, holding Iowa scoreless from the field for the last 6:01. But it was two starters in particular down the stretch that sealed the 67-59 win for Wisconsin.

It was their third win over the AP top 10 in the nation – much needed as they near conference tourney time and NCAA selection Sunday.

“They work, they listen and they just get better everyday,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said following the game. “We don’t care where teams are ranked, we just come to play.”

With 1:45 to play and Wisconsin up just one, Nigel Hayes booked three of his 10 points on the night, giving Wisconsin a 62-58 lead.

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After Zak Showalter gathered a loose ball and was fouled, Wisconsin worked the offensive end again before they found the Germantown product streaking through the lane. Showalter laid it in to give Wisconsin a six point edge, relegating Iowa to fouling through the final 45-seconds.

UW held on down the stretch, snapping Iowa’s 16-game home win streak and extending their winning seasons streak in conference play to that same number, 16.

Bronson Koenig led the way offensively for Wisconsin, posting 18 points to go with four assists.

After scoring 17 in the first half, Peter Jok led Iowa with 21 points. Badgers held their former recruit and teammate Jarrod Uthoff to just 11 points on the evening. The Hawkeyes shot over 54% from the field through the first half, but finished with just a 33% total for the game, going cold in the final seven minutes.

Neither team took control early.

After Iowa came out and got a quick three in transition from Jarrod Uthoff, Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig answered with seven points combined in the first four minutes to keep things close.

Nigel Hayes and Kahlil Iverson then had a couple of nice plays in the lane. Hayes with an up and under move that netted an bonus free throw. After he converted, Happ found Iverson on the baseline where a dropstep was followed by a thunderous dunk to make it 11-9 Wisconsin.

Peter Jok was the story on the offensive side for Iowa as the Badgers struggled containing the athletic wingman. His 17 first half points equaled his entire teams offensive output through 20 minutes.

Offensive rebounds and free throws helped Iowa through the less than impressive first half shooting the ball. Compared to Wisconsin’s 52% effort from the floor, the Badgers held Iowa to just 40% and held a 35-34 lead at the half.

Opening the second, things did not go the Badgers way.

Two Hawkeyes free throws was followed with a Wisconsin turnover. That netted a pair of free throws which preceded a great defensive stand from Wisconsin, and Zak Showalter personally.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

With just three seconds on the shot clock, Iowa found Uthoff who hit a deep three that gave Iowa a 41-35 lead just 2:30 into the second half.

Showalter than dropped a face-up three that gave Wisconsin their first points of the second half at the 16:20 mark.

Jordan Hill then came back with a lay-in, and Wisconsin found themselves just down one with 15:30 left.

Just as Wisconsin pulled in close, their rebounding failed them once more and two put-back hoops helped Iowa stretch back out to 47-41 with 13 minutes to go.

Showalter stopped the bleeding, getting loose on the baseline and knocking in a pair.

Hill then took a charge to give the ball back to Wisconsin. It wasn’t until the 10:24 mark that they’d score again though when Charlie Thomas got an offensive rebound and put it back in to make it 45-49 in favor of Iowa.

Nigel Hayes then came back and hit what was only Wisconsin’s second three-point hoop of the night to pull it to 48-51 with 9:51 to play.

With under eight minutes to go in the second, Happ was relegated to the bench, picking up his fourth foul with 7:26 to go in the game with things in Wisconsin’s favor by one.

Happ did rest long, as he then got a steal along the sideline, got the timeout called before he fell out of bounds and got Wisconsin the ball back.

Hayes found Koenig on top where he buried a three ball to tie the game at 51.

What came next was quite possibly the throw down of the year as Iverson came baseline left, went up and under Uthoff and threw it down with two hands to give UW the lead back at 53-51 with just under six to play.

Charlie Thomas hit a big three to give Wisconsin the lead back at 56-54 with 6:15 to play.

Woodbury then rebounded a missed free throw for Iowa and found Jok who drained a three from the elbow to tie it at 56 with 5:30 to play.

After a huge offensive rebound from Showalter, Vitto Brown found Koenig alone in the corner. He buried a big three to give Wisconsin a 59-56 cushion approaching the 4-minute mark.

That is where Wisconsin grabbed hold, and sealed the win down the stretch.

Next: Badgers an 8-seed in Lunardi's latest

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