Strong 2nd half sends Hoosiers past No. 18 Wisconsin 63-45
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Trayce Jackson-Davis finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Jalen Hood-Schifino added 16 points to lead Indiana past No. 18 Wisconsin 63-45 on Saturday.
The Hoosiers (12-4, 2-4 Big Ten) snapped a three-game losing streak by winning for the first time in three weeks and despite playing without two injured starters — guard Xavier Johnson (foot) and forward Race Thompson (knee).
Connor Essegian returned to his home state and had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Badgers (11-5, 3-3). Wisconsin has lost all three games since starting forward Tyler Wahl went down with an injured leg — this one in a series they had dominated for more than a decade.
But after an ugly start, the Hoosiers turned this game by opening the second half on a 18-2 run. The Badgers never recovered.
It wasn’t pretty. The two offenses barely shot better than 30% from the field in a first half when they were a combined 2 of 13 from 3-point range and produced zero fast-break points. The result: Neither team led by more than four.
Jackson-Davis changed everything in the second half when he opened the scoring with a short hook shot. Hood-Schifino followed that with back-to-back baskets and Trey Galloway’s layup extended a 21-20 halftime lead to 29-20. Indiana continued the run, building a 39-22 edge with 13:23 to play.
Wisconsin answered with six straight to cut the deficit to 10 but couldn’t get any closer as the Hoosiers closed it out late.
Wisconsin: Clearly, this is not the same team without Wahl. But coach Greg Gard’s team still knows how to play — defend without fouling, take care of the ball and win ugly if necessary. The combination was good enough to keep them close against the motivated Hoosiers. It just couldn’t quite overcome the absence of Wahl.
Indiana: After allowing 86.7 points during a three-game skid, coach Mike Woodson placed a high priority on improving the defense. It worked. The Hoosiers made life tough for the Badgers all afternoon and didn’t allow many open shots.
It took Wisconsin six weeks to crack the Top 25 and the Badgers eventually ascended to No. 14. But another loss will likely end Wisconsin’s five week-run in the rankings.
Indiana is trying to play its way back into the Top 25 after sliding out this week for the first time all season. Sure, a home victory over the Badgers will help. But a 19-point loss at Penn State won’t. They’ll need to win more games to return to the rankings.
Wisconsin: Return home Tuesday to face Penn State.
Indiana: Get a four-day break before traveling to Illinois on Thursday.
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