Badgers sweep Iowa, Keep Big Ten title hopes alive

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Wisconsin in Iowa City is never a guaranteed good time, but on Saturday afternoon the Badgers exorcized some demons at Carver-Hawkeye and came away with a 79-74 win over No. 15 Iowa. It took a full 60 minute effort from UW, but it survived a cold shooting spell in the mid-second half to hold off the Hawkeyes. 

With the win, the Badgers remain in striking distance of the Big Ten title, sitting at 9-5 in conference play. UW trails Michigan and Michigan State, who play each other tomorrow by two games in the loss column with five games to go. 

It was the Badgers' 7th win over a member of the current Top 25 in the nation, tops in the nation. The next highest team has just four wins over the current Top 25 group.

Junior forward Frank Kaminsky continues to show his importance to this team as he led all scorers with 21 points (tied with Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble). He added seven rebounds and two assists in the victory. 

Kaminsky wasn't the only star for Wisconsin as sophomore sensation Sam Dekker added a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. 

Marble, who tied Kaminsky for the game lead in points, also had a rare double-double in the loss, dishing out 11 assists to go with the 21 points. 

Wisconsin also got a surprising boost off the bench from freshman point guard Bronson Koenig, who 12 points in 23 minutes of action. 

It was the hot shooting of the 1st half, and timely shots down the stretch that made the difference in this one. Wisconsin finished the 1st half shooting 57 percent from the field, and managed to knock down two field goals and six free throws in the final 1:20 to salt away the victory. 

Wisconsin shot 47.6 percent from the field, while allowing Iowa to shoot 48.4 percent from the field on their end. The Badgers won despite the difference in field goal percentage thanks to eight made three pointers to Iowa's four. 

Let's get to the grades…

Player Stats/Thoughts Grade

Ben Brust, G
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2pts, 3 rebounds, 1-7 FGs

B-R-U-T-A-L day for Brust, who's lone field goal came on a ridiculous effort that he had no business throwing up there. He's been very inconsistent from the field as of late, and it nearly cost UW in this one. Not his best day by far. 

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Nigel Hayes, F
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7pts, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2-8 FGs

Hayes struggled from the field on Saturday afternoon, but he showed his value in plenty of other ways. He had perhaps the best assist of the day on a bounce pass to a cutting Dekker & his defensive effort was pretty consistent. Overall though, Wisconsin needs better from him from the field. 

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Traevon Jackson, G
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8pts, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3-8 FGs

On the positive side, Jackson was cool under pressure in the final minute and didn't turn the ball over much. However, he also couldn't figure out the Iowa zone for most of the 2nd half. Wasn't an amazing game, wasn't his worst either—by far

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Sam Dekker, F
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15pts, 11 rebounds, 6-13 FGs

Dekker struggled to show up down the stretch, but he was unquestionably a force in this game. For all the crap he's taken about his defensive effort, this was proof he's got a defensive game too. It was a very good day for Dekker who did it from deep, got to the rim and cleaned up on the glass too. 

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Josh Gasser, G
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12pts, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 4-5 FGs

It's clear that Gasser is back to his old self again to say the least. Gasser was lethal from the field and played pretty good on the defensive end. Too bad a lot of his teammates couldn't do that. Gasser appears to be a bigger and bigger weapon in UW's arsenal as they head to the tournaments

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Bronson Koenig, G

12pts, 2 assists, 5-7 FGs

After getting skunked in the last three games, Koenig went off at Carver-Hawkeye. His 12-point effort was just his second double figure scoring day in his short career. It was also a career high for the youngster. He's going to be something special, and Saturday was just another glimpse of it. 

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Frank Kaminsky, F
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21pts, 7 rebounds, 8-13 FGs, 5-6 FTs 

Kaminsky finished with 20 points or more for the second straight game, and has scored in double figures for four straight games as well. This after three straight w/o double digits for the junior. He put on a clinic of post moves and was aggressive on the defensive end of the floor as well. No play was bigger than his strip and steal of Roy Devyn Marble with the game on the line. 

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UW next takes on Indiana at home on Tuesday at 8pm CT, with the game televised by ESPN. 

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college football for nearly half a decade. He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadgers.com and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com

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