A Heartbreak in Bloomington: Wisconsin Basketball Comes Up Just Short

BLOOMINGTON, IN - JANUARY 03: Thomas Bryant #31 of the Indiana Hoosiers defends against Ethan Happ #22 of the Wisconsin Badgers in the first half of the game at Assembly Hall on January 3, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN - JANUARY 03: Thomas Bryant #31 of the Indiana Hoosiers defends against Ethan Happ #22 of the Wisconsin Badgers in the first half of the game at Assembly Hall on January 3, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

With two overtimes being needed to decide a winner, this game sure had its ups and downs. Wisconsin Basketball just missed out on a key win.

When breaking down this monster of a game, the only place to start is the beginning.

The Badgers started out hot offensively, coming to a 17-12 lead in the first ten minutes. This was mostly due to Happ being efficient offensively, going 4 from 5 from the field in that stretch. After that, however, Wisconsin’s offense started to slow down, while Indiana’s started to heat up.

With the score being 25-25 with three minutes left in the first half, Indiana made back to back threes, putting them 6 points ahead. Not only that, but Wisconsin committed multiple turnovers and shot terribly from three the entire half, going 1 for 9. This half was not unseen in Wisconsin basketball this season, as in multiple games this year we have seen the Badgers shooting poorly from three in the first half.

The biggest Badger performance in the first half came from Khalil Iverson, who had 12 points, going 6-7 from the field. Iverson has been playing very well over the last few games and Is definitely playing his best basketball of the season, if not his career. The halftime score saw Wisconsin down four at 33-29.

The second half started with Wisconsin slowly but surely scoring to narrow down the lead.

With 7:45 remaining in the second half, a layup from Happ led to Wisconsin leading for the first time since the first half. A Trice jumper gave Wisconsin its the largest lead for the half. From there, the game went downhill, as the rest of the half ended in many controversies, and yes, monitor visits.

Just when Wisconsin was starting to pull ahead, Happ accidentally elbowed a Hoosier in the head. After a video review, a flagrant one was issued, and Indiana capitalized, scoring 3 points. The rest of the half was punctuated by long stoppages, as things such as possession were reviewed.

The lead changed hands over the last 5 minutes, and It came down to the end of regulation time. With just 8 seconds left, Rob Phinisee made a layup to put Indiana 2 points ahead. With just five seconds left, Trice was fouled and had to sink two free throws to tie the game up. He stepped up to the line and made both of them. One buzzer-beater attempt later, extra time was needed to determine a winner.

If you don’t want to feel sad, stop reading right now. It makes me sad just to write it.

Wisconsin was very slow offensively in overtime, but thankfully, so was Indiana. Wisconsin had many looks for layups, but none seemed to go in. The best chance during overtime came from a wide-open Davison three, which he missed badly. With 20 seconds left in the first overtime period (yes, there is a second), Romeo Langford made a huge layup for Indiana. With time winding down, and Wisconsin down by three, it came down to a three-point attempt by Trice.

Looking back, I wish he missed it. I would have been sad, but not crushed. What was to come was even worse. As you can probably tell, his three went in, and after a horrible buzzer-beater attempt, it was time for double overtime.

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The second overtime was a pinnacle of all of the flaws of Wisconsin basketball.

Wisconsin missed numerous open layups (although the officiating may have been questionable), and more importantly, missed five straight free throws! Yes, they missed five free throws in a row. There were many ways Wisconsin could have won the game. Making more layups, hitting open threes, and getting some unlucky calls are all valid answers, but missing free throws is the easiest way they could have won.

Even missing all of those free throws, it was only a three-point lead for Indiana with 15 seconds left. Wisconsin gave the ball to Trice, who drew a foul while shooting from three. The amazing thing is that he didn’t just make one or two: he made all three. He was definitely the most clutch Badger in overtime

. With eight seconds left in double overtime, it was a tie game. Indiana gave the ball to Langford, and with 0.8 seconds left on the clock, he hit an open layup to essentially win the game. One bad inbound later, Wisconsin had lost to Indiana.

Final Score: Wisconsin 73, Indiana 75

I will be sure to break down some of the more technical aspects of the game later, but as I close, I would like to say that I actually saw this result coming. I don’t think Wisconsin has been playing good basketball since January 14, when they beat Maryland at home. Since then, they have struggled and often looked dead for long stretches of the game.

Often, at least one Wisconsin player has had a horrible night. Even Happ has not looked like his usual self in several games. Road games in the Big Ten are hard, and Indiana is a tough team. What it really comes down to is what team was more prepared, and although neither team looked truly prepared, Indiana seemed like the more prepared team.

I look forward to breaking down this loss a little farther and explaining the key takeaways from this sad loss. For now, we will have to see how the Badgers respond when they play Penn State on Saturday. As always, Go Badgers!

Wisconsin Starters

STARTERS     MIN     FG        3PT     FT       REB     AST     STL     BLK     TO     PF     PTS
E. Happ           45       9-18     0-0    5-10   11        4           0         1         3         5      23
N. Reuvers     35       3-10    0-3    1-3        7         0           0         2         2         4      7
K. Iverson       36       7-11    0-0   1-3         3        1            1         1         1         1     15
D. Trice            40       2-10    2-7    6-9        4        3             0         0         0         0     12
B. Davison      43      1-11    1-7    0-0        3        2             1         0         2         4      3

Indiana Starters

STARTERS      MIN     FG     3PT     FT     REB     AST     STL     BLK     TO     PF     PTS
J. Morgan       28      3-12   0-3      3-4     15       3         1          2        4        5         9
J. Smith           26      5-9     0-1      2-2       6        0         0          0        1        5        12
A. Durham     46     4-11   3-5      0-0       1        1         0          0         2        5        11
R. Langford    45     8-17  1-3      5-8       7         2         0          2        2        0         22
R. Phinisee     43     3-7    1-4      4-6        4         4         3          0        0        0        11

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All stats courtesy of Espn