Wisconsin upsets No. 8 Iowa to help tourney chances
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — If Wisconsin ends up making the NCAA Tournament, Wednesday’s win at Iowa might be looked upon as a big reason why.
Bronson Koenig scored 15 points and Wisconsin handed the eighth-ranked Hawkeyes their second straight loss and third in four games, 67-59.
Nigel Hayes had 10 points for the Badgers (18-10, 10-5 Big Ten), whose streak of nine wins in 10 now includes a victory in Iowa City that should help their NCAA Tournament hopes immensely.
The surging Badgers also won at Maryland, Illinois and Penn State in the past month since starting 1-4 in the league.
“Our coaches and leaders tell us not to worry about anything on the outside,” Wisconsin’s Khalil Iverson said. “Just focus on the next game.”
Zak Showalter’s layup with 1:15 left put Wisconsin ahead 64-58, and a steal and two free throws by Koenig put the game out of reach.
“We understand who we are. They play within their character and their identity,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “We’ve got guys who aren’t afraid of the moment.”
Peter Jok scored 21 points and Adam Woodbury had 18 rebounds for Iowa (20-7, 11-4), which fell a full game behind league-leading Indiana after shooting just 27 percent in the second half.
“I thought we got great shot opportunities,” coach Fran McCaffery said, adding that Iowa’s 14 turnovers were a big factor in its loss. ’We got a little hesitant at times.”
Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff picked up his fourth foul with the game tied at 56 with 5:40 left, leaving the Hawkeyes without their best player for three minutes down the stretch. Koenig and Hayes then hit crucial 3s, giving the Badgers a 62-58 lead with 1:42 lead, and Uthoff missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Uthoff finished with just 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting — and Iowa didn’t hit a shot from the floor in the final six minutes.
“We didn’t do enough in crunch time. We didn’t do enough in, whatever. We didn’t get the necessary stops. We didn’t execute like we needed to. We just have to do a better job coming back,” McCaffery said.
Still, Jok kept Iowa within a point at 35-34 at halftime — even though the Hawkeyes let Wisconsin shoot 52 percent while turning it over eight times.
But Uthoff, who was held to just one first-half basket, drilled a 30-footer to beat the shot clock and put Iowa ahead 41-35.
Wisconsin hung around though, and Iverson’s emphatic dunk gave it a 53-51 lead with just under nine minutes left.
The Badgers closed with an 11-3 run, improbably putting them just two games back of the Big Ten leaders.
“This team can get so much better yet,” Gard said. “They’ve done a good job of creating their identity.”
Iowa: The Hawkeyes wore gold uniforms for the fourth time this season. It didn’t help, as they fell to Wisconsin for the sixth straight time. ... Anthony Clemmons had 13 points, but his turnover following Showalter’s layup late in the game proved crushing for Iowa.
Wisconsin: The Badgers had 17 assists on 25 made baskets. ... This was Wisconsin’s third win over a Top 10 opponent (Michigan State, Maryland).
Woodbury’s rebounds were a career-high — and 10 of them came on the offensive glass. The Hawkeyes couldn’t capitalize though. ... Iverson and Jordan Hill each scored nine off the bench. ... Hayes was just 3 of 11 shooting, but he was one of seven Badgers with an assist. ... Iowa had just nine assists and 14 turnovers.
“That’s a two-hand windmill, ladies and gentlemen. You don’t see that all the time. That’s dunk contest material,” Hayes said, interrupting a question about Iverson’s memorable dunk.
Iowa: At Ohio State on Sunday.
Wisconsin: Hosts Michigan on Sunday.
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