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Wisconsin Escapes Iowa in OT, 62-59

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A slugfest in regulation, a wild 2nd half in which both teams combined for 65 points, and then a 15 point OT.

At the end of the night, the visiting Badgers came up with their 6th win in their last 7 games, thwarting a valiant upset bid from the Hawkeyes.

The first half for Wisconsin was an offensive disaster; the Badgers managed a grand total of 0 second-chance points on 12 offensive rebounds. A halfcourt buzzer beater by Josh Gasser to end the first half? No good. But considering how the Badgers missed 17 of their first 19 shots to start the game, this was not going to be pretty.

But 17 misses on 19 attempts? That's just abysmal. And the culprits were all over the place, too, especially from beyond the arc; Jon Leuerattempted 5 threes and hit just one, Keaton Nankivil attempted 8 threes of his own and hit 2. In fact, everyone who played for Wisconsin (with the exception of Ryan Evans) attempted at least one three.

Despite the repeated failures to score from the outside, the Badgers took those shots anyway. Remember that earlier loss the Badgers suffered in Champaign-Urbana? The Badgers attempted 35 threes and hit just 10 against the Fighting Illini. It seems that the more the Badgers attempt threes, the more their threes are taken on bad looks, which result in bad shots early in the shot clock, which in turn produce bad results (losses and needlessly close games). The Badgers attempted 29 threes and hit just 8.

Iowa, on the other hand, attempted 7 threes and hit just one, but that didn't hurt them as much as they found success inside the paint against the Badgers. Melsahn Basabe and Jarryd Cole turned in a pair of double-doubles (Basabe with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Cole with 10 points and 12 rebounds) for the Hawkeyes. Iowa had four players in double figures, but was unable to pull off the upset in regulation or overtime. Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwright turned in 10 and 16 points, respectively; Cartwright leading the Hawkeyes in points.

Wisconsin's cold shooting didn't last forever, though, and they hit 10 of their first 17 shots to open the 2nd half. Jordan Taylor managed 8 assists and 16 points, but he hit one-third of his shot attempts (Taylor was 6 of 18 from the floor). Nankivil added 10 points and 4 rebounds, and Josh Gasser had a quietly successful game with 7 rebounds, 2 points and 4 assists, with no turnovers. Leuer, the leading scorer for the Badgers, had 19 points and 15 rebounds. Leuer also handed out 4 assists, but his 4 turnovers were disconcerting and definitely contributed to the close game.

A concern entering this game amongst Wisconsin fans was that this was a trap game against a dangerous Hawkeye team on their home court. It's safe to say that concern was validated with this game. While the Badgers were able to pull out a road W, it's clear that this Wisconsin team has many things to improve on if they're to knock off Ohio State.

Entering the game, the all-time series between Wisconsin-Iowa was tied at 76-76. With the overtime win, Wisconsin takes the series lead, 77-76. Wisconsin faces top-ranked Ohio State in the Kohl Center on February 12th, while Iowa takes on a struggling Minnesota team in Iowa City on February 13th.

NEXT THREE GAMES

Wisconsin

vs. #1 Ohio State (2/12/11), @ # 14 Purdue (2/16/11), vs. Penn State (2/20/11)

Iowa

vs. Minnesota (2/13/11), @ Northwestern (2/17/11), vs. Michigan (2/19/11)