The Iowa student section chanted, “You can’t stop him,” as Matt Gatens hit 7 of 10 from behind the arc to lead the Hawkeyes past the Wisconsin Badgers by a score of 67-66.
In the first half, the Badgers struggled at what they do best. They committed eleven turnovers, more than their average of 8.9 turnovers per game this season (second best in the nation). On the defensive end, the Badgers gave up 43 first half points to the Hawkeyes. Wisconsin gave up less than 43 points in 8 different games so far this season and give up an NCAA best 51.7 point per game on the year. Ryan Evans led the scoring, as the Badgers shot a fantastic 58% from the field, but still found themselves down 9 at the break.
After halftime, the Wisconsin bench sparked a 12-2 run. The momentum began to turn when, after a 2 minute scoreless streak for both teams, Rob Wilson made a layup. Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble turned the ball over on the next possession, which led to Wilson draining a three-point shot at the other end. Ben Brust added 5 points during the run to pull the Badgers back to within 2.
Gatens swung the momentum back to the Hawkeyes by scoring every point of an Iowa 8-2 run. After that run, Iowa went cold, shooting 0-6 from the field in the last 7:22 of the game and giving the Badgers a chance to pull off a comeback win.
With 20 seconds left Ben Brust hit an unbelievable fadeaway three-point shot pulling, the Badgers to within 2 again. But it was too little too late as Gatens and Marble teamed up to make four clutch free throws to seal Iowa’s first season sweep of the Badgers since the 1997-1998 season.
Bo Ryan had to be happy with the way the bench stepped up. In the 2nd half, the Badgers’ bench scored 22 of the team’s 32 points. But if the Badgers are to make any kind of run in the NCAA tournament, Jordan Taylor needs to lead this team. On the night, Taylor took only 8 shots and finished with 9 points, 4 assists, and 4 turnovers.
The Badgers head to Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes today; tip is scheduled for 3pm Central time.