MADISON, Wis. — This was a chance for the Iowa Hawkeyes to make a statement.
With victories in five of its last six games, Iowa had moved back into the top 25 at No. 25, and the Hawkeyes were looking to show they were a legitimate threat in the Big Ten when they rolled into the Kohl Center to face the sixth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers on Tuesday.
Instead, the statement came from the Badgers, who did everything but drain the battery in the Hawkeyes’ bus, and cruised to an 82-50 victory in front of a crowd of 17,279.
“We had an opportunity tonight and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Wisconsin set a season high with 11 3-pointers its last time out — a 70-55 victory last Thursday against Nebraska — and nearly matched that against the Hawkeyes, connecting on nine of 22 attempts from long range.
Three of those came from point guard Bronson Koenig, who was making his third consecutive start and second in a row in place of Traevon Jackson, who broke his foot at Rutgers on Jan. 11.
Koenig, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, finished with 13 points and recorded a pair of assists in 34 minutes of action.
He was one of four Badgers to score in double figures.
Forward Sam Dekker led the way with 17 points, and forward Nigel Hayes added 16. Center Frank Kaminsky finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
“Josh [Gasser] said something to us at halftime that we haven’t put together a complete 40 minutes yet this season and he wanted us to continue that in the second half,” Dekker said. “We’re pretty happy with the way we played in the second half. We got a few easy looks but it was probably our best 40 minutes of the year.”
Wisconsin was dominant in all aspects of the game while shooting 49.2 percent from the field. The Badgers turned the ball over just one time — a shot-clock violation early in the second half — and they posted a 37-24 rebounding advantage.
“One turnover?” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan asked. “You have to give our guys a lot of credit, there’s not too many times you can do that. I thought our guys did an excellent job making the extra pass and using good ball fakes.”
Iowa shot 42.6 percent overall, six of 15 (40 percent) from long range.
“We did a lot of good things helping each other defensively,” Ryan said. “You don’t hold a team like that for that long without guys buying in and really doing their job. It was nice to see our guys listen to the instructions and make the opposition try to score in different ways.”
The Hawkeyes were outplayed almost from the opening tip. They scored on their first two possessions but came up empty on their next five while Wisconsin raced out to a 13-4 lead.
“We broke down,” McCaffery said. “They’re an excellent 3-point shooting team but they’re also a very good 1-on-1 team. They spread you out and they go. We stayed a little longer than we should have on our help, then they hit a couple early and we didn’t recover. That’s not how you want to start.”
It only got worse from there as Iowa missed all six of its 3-point attempts in the half and shot just 25 percent while turning the ball over three times.
“There wasn’t just one area that we broke down,” McCaffery said. “It was a combination of things.”
Forward Jarrod Uthoff, who originally committed to Wisconsin and then transferred to Iowa early in his freshman year, was the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
Guard Trey Dickerson, making his first appearance in Big Ten play this season, added eight points, while guard Peter Jok and forward Aaron White each finished with seven.
The Hawkeyes, the nation’s fourth-best squad at drawing fouls, managed to get to the free-throw line just 10 times and only made four free throws.
NOTES: Wisconsin G Josh Gasser left the game with 12:46 to play with an apparent left shoulder injury but was cleared by the medical staff and returned a few minute later.
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