‘Hoosier daddy?’ Badgers find out hard way


first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoBLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Seventeen consecutive wins, a perfect conference record and a No. 2 ranking all came to an end Wednesday night, as the Wisconsin men’s basketball team fell to No. 25 Indiana at a rocking Assembly Hall. UW fell for the first time on the road and had to suffer the indignity and foreign feeling of watching Indiana fans storm the court after the victory.”It’s like watching your girlfriend go out with another guy right in front of you,” junior guard Michael Flowers said. “It hurts. It hurts the heart.” In front of a boisterous sell-out crowd of 17,283, the Badgers (21-2, 7-1 Big Ten) watched a three-point lead disappear during a 16-3 second-half run by the Hoosiers (16-5, 6-2), eventually falling behind 53-43. The run was keyed by Indiana guard A.J. Ratliff, who scored 18 second-half points — finishing with 20 — on 6-of-7 shooting and drained three trifectas during the IU surge.”He stepped up, he really stepped up when they needed plays, and he got hot,” said senior forward Alando Tucker, who led the Badgers with 23 points.”We knew he could do it,” senior guard Kammron Taylor said. “He caught fire against us, and that was just unfortunate for us.”Ratliff explained afterward that he believed that his team needed a boost and he was more than ready to provide it.”I felt somebody had to step up and make plays,” Ratliff said. “I was opening up and I had all the confidence in the world.”The suddenly hot perimeter shooting — the Hoosiers hit 5-of-6 3-pointers in the second half — was set up by D.J. White dominating inside early in the second stanza, scoring all 10 of his points in the half in the first 6:31.”Coach told me right after halftime to get more aggressive,” White said. “That’s what I tried to do.”The run whipped the crimson-and-cream-clad crowd into a frenzy and forced UW head coach Bo Ryan to call a timeout. After the breather, the Badgers responded, scoring eight straight points to cut the lead back down to two at 53-51, eventually tying the game at 59 with 4:53 remaining on a Taylor three-pointer.”Our guys did a heck of a job to come back, down 10 on the road like that,” Ryan said.But Wisconsin’s shooting went cold down the stretch, making only one of their final eight shots and the Badgers were unable to capitalize on four late missed free throws by the Hoosiers. “I liked some of our looks down the stretch,” Ryan said. “We were playing from behind, that’s part of it, we haven’t had a lot of experience with (that).”UW missed its final three shots, and before the final horn finished buzzing, the court was flooded with Indiana students.”I thought this was a tremendous college basketball game,” Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson said. “Our crowd deserves as much credit as we do. They were great tonight; I mean, they were great.”In the end, both teams credited Ratliff with changing the complexion of the game with his perimeter marksmanship.”I hate to just say that it’s just them hitting those shots in that streak,” Ryan said. “Then again, you have to remember how Indiana’s been playing here and what they’re doing now. This is going to be a tough place for other people to come into.”In the first half, Wisconsin (nine) and Indiana (seven) combined for 16 turnovers, ensuring that the pace of the game was quick as the squads raced up and down the floor trying to capitalize off the giveaways.”You can always go back to those seven turnovers on the first 12 possessions,” Ryan said.Despite 14 first-half points from Tucker, the Badgers found themselves only tied with 18 seconds remaining in the stanza. Ryan called a timeout and maybe the least likely player to hit a basket — guard Jason Bohannon — drained a jumper off a curl to give Wisconsin 28-26 lead. The lead was short lived however, and the night would end with the Badgers watching the opposing team’s fans charge onto the court to celebrate the victory.”You know, we’d rather not have that happen,” Ryan said. “But since you take it on the chin, you take what comes with it.”last_img

Have any Question or Comment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Comments