After the first half the Badgers game against Indiana had an eerie feeling, like it was something we'd witnessed before. We had, it was the Northwestern game—where the Badgers couldn't hit the broadside of the barn in the first half. Except on Tuesday against the Hoosiers, Wisconsin (23-5, 10-5 B1G) came out swinging and hitting shots en route to an unexpected 69-58 win.
The Badgers mustered up all of 26 percent field goal shooting in the first half, while shooting just 10 percent from beyond the arc. It all added up to one of the worst performances for the Badgers in a half in years, as UW put up 19 points and was down 29-19 at the half.
19 points is the worst scoring half the #Badgers have had all season. Strange to see that from a team that's been hot as of late.
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) February 26, 2014
Recent history told us all that Wisconsin was in some serious trouble thanks to a lack of shot-making going on.
However, the Badgers were getting good looks in the first half, they just weren't going down. That wasn't the case in the second half as the slumping Ben Brust got hot again, and his team fed off of it on the way to a 20-point turnaround in the half.
Wisconsin managed to drop 51 points on the Hoosiers in the 2nd half, with Sam Dekker also leading the way for UW. In fact, he's becoming one of the best second half players in the country as of late. In 28 games, Dekker has scored 10-plus points in the second half 24 times.
Sam Dekker might be the best second half player in college hoops. 10+ points in 24 of 28 2nd halves?
— Josh (@Josh_Valentine) February 26, 2014
However, it wasn't just Dekker who got things going. Initially it was Ben Brust who sparked the Badgers comeback with back-to-back three pointers, after a 1-for-17 slump from beyond the arc before those triples went down.
He was joined in the double digit category by the other four starters. Point guard Traevon Jackson added 14 points, while fellow guards Brust and Gasser added 12 and 11 points each and forward Frank Kaminsky added 10 points in the win.
Equally impressive for the Badgers in this one was the defensive effort. Wisconsin appeared to learn the lessons of the game in Bloomington, Ind. earlier in the year, as the Badgers made a concerted effort to force the Hoosiers to be a jump shooting team.
That effort eventually paid off with a key seven minute field goal drought by the Hoosiers that sealed the deal in this game.
Sure, point guard Yogi Ferrell and freshman sensation Noah Vonleh combined for 42 of the 58 Indiana points, but no one else did anything. It could've been a lot worse as well, especially since it was Will Sheehey who hit all seven of IU's opening points. However, he went 0-for-the rest of the game.
Wisconsin's win and Iowa's loss at the same time puts the Badgers firmly in third place in the Big Ten, and within striking distance of the state of Michigan.
UW will take it's seemingly annual trip to the house of horros that is the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday, taking on Penn State at 11am CT on BTN.