Jan. 19, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It was a good thing the University of Iowa men's basketball team built a 20 point first half lead and led by 16 at the half because Wisconsin kept coming.
The Badgers outscored the Hawkeyes by 12 points in the second half and got it to within a single possession at 66-63 with 22.5 seconds remaining, but Iowa held on for the 70-66 victory on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena to hand Wisconsin its first Big Ten loss.
"It was big for us to play tough in the end, stay with our composure and get the win," said sophomore Aaron White, who paced the Hawkeyes with 17 points.
The Hawkeyes (13-5, 2-3) fed off a different energy, a different aura in the arena. Iowa was celebrating the life of former Hawkeye Chris Street, as Jan. 19 marked the 20-year anniversary of his death in a car accident. Street's No. 40 jersey was draped over the first seat on the Iowa bench during the national anthem, and the energy gave Iowa a lift.
"There was energy in the building that I've never seen before," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "I've been in a lot of buildings in my playing and coaching career and nothing like that. There's not a doubt in my mind, there was a difference."
"We were playing for a cause," said junior Roy Devyn Marble. "It's tough for any team like Wisconsin to have to play against a team that has a cause. We played with a lot of fire and intensity. We kind of slacked off at the end, but we were able to pull it out, and that's all that matters."
After pushing the lead to 38-20 with 18:02 remaining, the tide started to shift. A Ben Brust 3-pointer and a Sam Dekker dunk cut the margin to 13 with 16:07 left, and Dekker's 3-pointer with 10:29 remaining made it 46-35 contest.
The Hawkeyes pushed their lead back to 15 on a lay-up by Marble with 6:52 left, but Wisconsin continued hanging around before making its move with five minutes left.
Guard George Marshall's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 10 (57-47) with 4:33 remaining, Jared Berggren followed with a layup and Marshall's jumper made the score 57-51 with 3:10 to go. Marble then gave Iowa a lift when he made a step-back 3-pointer to give the Hawkeyes a 60-51 advantage with 2:36 remaining.
"We struggled a little bit, we were sputtering a lead," said McCaffery. "We tried to run some clock because in that stretch before that we were quick-shooting the ball a little bit. So you milk the clock, then you hit a huge step-back 3, that's huge."
Iowa made its free throws and maintained an eight-point lead into the final minute, but Wisconsin made the sold crowd of 15,400 Hawkeye faithful sweat. Marshall's three-point play with 30 seconds remaining trimmed the margin to 65-60. After White made 1-of-2 from the free throw stripe, Marshall drained a 3-pointer to make it a one possession game.
Marble then stepped to the free throw stripe and drained a pair to give Iowa the five-point cushion and a steal on the following possession sealed the win.
White made 13-of-15 free throws en route to scoring 17 points to lead the Hawkeyes to go along with a team-best seven rebounds. Marble netted 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while freshmen guards Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Iowa and Wisconsin both shot identical 43.1 percent from the field. The Hawkeyes were 22-of-51 from the floor; the Badgers were 25-of-58. Wisconsin made 8-of-23 3-point attempts, while Iowa was 2-of-10.
The difference in the game came at the free throw stripe, where the Hawkeyes made 24-of-29 attempts, while the Badgers were 8-of-12.
"Our game plan was to drive the ball, throw it inside and attack them," said McCaffery. "You don't want to settle for jumper after jumper and you want to attack and put them in a position where they're going to foul you, and they did."
Marshall led Wisconsin with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Dekker finished with 13 points, making 5-of-8 field goal attempts.
It was one of those halves for Wisconsin to start the game. The Badgers made 1-of-10 shots to start the game, and Iowa made it pay. A Gesell 3-pointer made the score 7-2 at the 16:20 mark and a three point play by junior Melsahn Basabe pushed the lead to 14-4 with 13 minutes to go in the half.
Brust made the Badgers' second field goal 10 minutes into the half and Berggren followed with a dunk, but Iowa followed with a 10-0 spurt to push its lead to 20. Gesell opened the run with a jumper before White scored six straight to push the advantage to 28-10. Sophomore Gabriel Olaseni followed with a layup to push the lead to 30-10 with around five minutes remaining in the half.
After making 3-of-19 shots to start the game, Wisconsin found its footing, using an 8-2 spurt to climb to within 14 (32-18), but Marble made a floater with two seconds left to give the Hawkeyes the 34-18 advantage. Brust then banked in a 3-pointer from half court, but the basket was waved off as time had expired.
Wisconsin had more turnovers than field goals in the opening 20 minutes. The Badgers committed eight turnovers, while making just 6-of-26 (23.1 percent) field goal attempts. The Hawkeyes were 13-of-30 (43.3 percent) from the field and made 7-of-8 free throw attempts.
Iowa has a short turnaround, as it returns to action Tuesday at No. 11 Ohio State.