The Wisconsin basketball team delivered another memorable game last night. They welcomed Indiana to the Kohl Center, a place the Hoosiers haven’t won since 1998, which is something the Big Ten Network commentators referenced ad nauseam. I’m sure that’s all the Indiana players were hearing heading into the game as well and used it as bulletin board material.
The Hoosiers came out blazing hot. They shot 54.8% in the first half and scored 42 points on the Badgers. It felt like one of those games where the opponent just wouldn’t miss. It was frustrating to see this Wisconsin team, who has been great defensively so far this season, getting picked apart and blown out at home.
That’s the worst defensive half the Badgers have had all season. At the end of the game, Greg Gard said at the half, he told his team he didn’t know who that was on the floor because that wasn’t the Wisconsin basketball team he’d seen the past eight games.
Whatever adjustments Greg Gard and his staff made paid off in a big way. The Wisconsin defense we have gotten used to seeing out of this group reappeared and held the Hoosiers to just 22.6% shooting in the second half. They also held Indiana to just 17 points in the second half.
They absolutely stifled the Hoosiers.
What’s even more impressive, is that the Badgers held the Hoosier’s star player, Trayce Jackson-Davis, to just nine points on 4-10 shooting, his lowest scoring output of the year. Steven Crowl and Chris Vogt did a great job of limiting Jackson-Davis from making a huge impact on this game.
Even with the big defensive effort, the Badgers were still in a 17-point hole at the half. They needed some offense to get going.
Enter Johnny Davis.
Davis did what he’s been doing all season. He had 11 points at the half and finished with 23, his fifth 20+ point game this season. With just over a minute in the game, he hit a tough three-point shot from the corner to put the Badgers ahead. They never let the Hoosiers score another point and ended the game on an 11-0 run to win the game 64-59.
Big man Chris Vogt also stepped up in a huge way this game. He came into the game with just five total points. He scored nine against the Hoosiers and added six rebounds and four of which were offensive. He provided some huge minutes for the Badgers off the bench.
What makes this comeback even more impressive is that the Badgers were short three players. Backup guards Lorne Bowman and Jahcobi Neath were out sick (non-covid) along with freshman forward Marcus Ilver.
The Badgers had to depend on players like Jordan Davis (3 points), Ben Carlson (3 points), and Chris Vogt (9 points) to come off the bench and provide more minutes off the bench than usual.
The Wisconsin basketball team, now 8-1, will have a big game coming up on Saturday when they travel to Columbus to take on the #21 Ohio State Buckeyes, who recently beat Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge when Duke was the top-ranked team in the country. The Badgers are surely going to be tested and will likely be underdogs this Saturday.