With a pair of Big Ten basketball games being played in the early afternoon of one of the biggest sporting days of the year, both home teams picked up wins. The Wisconsin Badgers maintained their grip on the top spot in the conference while the Iowa Hawkeyes got a win over a Nebraska team that has been struggling.
Here’s how it all went down:
Game of the Day:
- Wisconsin Badgers 65, Indiana Hoosiers 60
In a game where offense was at a premium and the shooting percentages were low, the Wisconsin Badgers picked up a home win to improve to 9-1 in the conference and 20-3 overall on the season. Sophomore forward Ethan Happ led the Badgers with 20 points and 7 rebounds while having one of the few efficient outings of anyone on the court, finishing 8-10 from the floor.
Happ also took care of business on the defensive end of the floor, picking up 3 steals and 3 blocks. Ethan Happ is beginning to see more and more attention for a potential Big Ten Player of the Year, and certainly it will be an interesting debate down the stretch. Senior Nigel Hayes also had a nice game with 15 points and 10 rebounds, though he struggled from the floor shooting 4-14.
The two teams were a combined 40-97 from the floor and the difference in the game was the free throw line. Wisconsin got to the free throw line 31 times and converted on 23 of those opportunities. While the Badgers shot 74.2% from the free throw line, the Indiana Hoosiers made more of their trips, but with 19 fewer opportunities. A differential of 12 made free throws in favor of the Badgers was a huge difference.
For the Indiana Hoosiers, still without James Blackmon Jr., were led by 22 points from Josh Newkirk, including four threes.
The Wisconsin Badgers will travel to Nebraska on Thursday night. The Indiana Hoosiers are playing host to their rival Purdue on Thursday night.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 81, Nebraska Cornhuskers 70
Peter Jok made his return to the lineup for the Iowa Hawkeyes at home against Nebraska on Sunday, but was not the biggest contributor in this win. Of course, Jok being on the floor immediately makes Iowa so much more difficult to defend simply because of the attraction he requires.
Jok scored only 12 points in 30 minutes on 2-7 shooting, but Jordan Bohannon finished with 15 points while making four threes and Tyler Cook scored 13 points in only 17 minutes.
The Iowa Hawkeyes took advantage of poor shooting from beyond the arc from Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers finished 3-20 from beyond the three point line. Iowa, meanwhile, finished 9-19 from distance.
Ball movement was key for the Hawkeyes as well, finishing with 22 assists on 27 made field goals.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers were led by Jack McVeigh and Tai Webster, who finished with 16 and 14 points respectively.
With the win, the Iowa Hawkeyes improved to 14-10 overall and 6-5 in the conference. Meanwhile, the loss drops Nebraska to 10-13 overall and 4-7 in the conference. Iowa will travel to Minnesota on Wednesday and Nebraska will have a challenge on their path to get back on track, hosting Wisconsin on Thursday.