MADISON, Wis. — If anyone still thinks of Wisconsin as a slow, methodical, plodding team that was better suited for short-shorts and peach baskets, he probably was not watching as the fifth-ranked Badgers throttled Indiana 92-78 Tuesday night at the Kohl Center.
Wisconsin set a season high for points in a game and shot 60.4 percent from the field en route to its fifth consecutive victory and the Badgers’ 13th in their last 14 games.
“The game kind of played out the way we thought it would,” said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, who improved to 16-4 against his Indiana counterpart, Tom Crean, who also faced Ryan-led Wisconsin teams seven times while with Marquette. “I don’t know how Coach Crean feels, but they were going to do their thing and we did our thing. We just did our thing a little bit better.”
The Badgers’ “thing” was pretty predictable: feed the post where 7-foot center Frank Kaminsky and 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward Nigel Hayes took advantage of an undersized Indiana team that has struggled defensively for much of the season.
The duo combined for 39 of Wisconsin’s points, with Kaminsky’s 23 leading the way. He hit all six of his attempts in the first half and finished 9 of 12 from the field, while Hayes hit all five of his attempts from the field, knocked down a 3-pointer and converted five of six free throws to finish with 16.
The Badgers had five players score in double figures and went 6-for-11 on 3-point attempts.
The Badgers also got 15 from point guard Bronson Koenig, 14 from forward Sam Dekker and 11 from shooting guard Josh Gasser.
“I think we did really well,” Kaminsky said. “Most of our offense ran through the post. We had a size advantage and we knew we had to use it.”
Indiana was dealt a blow just before the game when it was determined that freshman James Blackmon wouldn’t be able to play because of a sprained ankle suffered Saturday against Rutgers, leaving the Hoosiers without their leading scorer (16.5 points per game).
Offensively, though, Indiana held its own, shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 13 of 24 from beyond the arc.
After falling behind 9-0 to open the game, the Hoosiers used the long ball to shoot their way into it and even held a 13-11 lead with 14:20 left in the first half.
Indiana went 8-for-11 from beyond the arc in the first half, and was within six until Koenig drilled a long jumper as time expired to give Wisconsin a 44-36 lead.
The Badgers blew the game open with a 16-1 run out of the break and held a 60-37 advantage when the Hoosiers finally got their first field goal of the half with 13:51 to play.
Indiana missed seven shots and turned the ball over twice during that stretch.
“What we wanted to do we really didn’t do so well,” Crean said. “We got off to a slow start, got back where we needed to be but we didn’t have the aggressiveness we needed to start in the second half.”
Wisconsin led by as many 32 points in the second half before the Hoosiers’ sharpshooters regained their stroke late and cut the deficit to 14 with five minutes to play.
“We might have stepped off the gas and relaxed a little bit and they kind of took advantage of it,” Kaminsky said. “But we gave ourselves a big enough cushion that to come back from that would have been hard for them.”
NOTES: Indiana coach Tom Crean said the decision to sit freshman G James Blackmon was made at the last minute Tuesday. He’ll rehab his ankle and be reevaluated Sunday, when the Hoosiers host Michigan. … Wisconsin has won 13 consecutive home games against Indiana and 14 of the last 15 meetings with the Hoosiers, overall. … Since moving into the starting lineup following an injury to PG Traevon Jackson, PG Bronson Koenig is 14 for 26 (53.8 percent) on 3-point shots, including 3 of 4 on Tuesday. … Indiana entered play Tuesday ranked 13th nationally in both scoring, averaging 80.3 points, and made 3-pointers, 8.9 per game. … Badgers G Josh Gasser made his 126th career start Tuesday, tying him with Alando Tucker for most in program history.
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