Badgers blow by Indiana in regular season finale

first_imgJoe Krabbenhoft waves as he steps off the Kohl Center court for the last time.[/media-credit]With an 85-61 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers in last night’s season finale, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team was able to clinch a first-round bye and the fourth seed in the men’s Big Ten Tournament, which starts Thursday in Indianapolis.The win against the Hoosiers (6-24, 1-17) gives the Badgers (19-11, 10-8) their seventh win in the last nine games. In the last month, they have been one of the most successful teams in the Big Ten.“Wisconsin doesn’t take a backseat to anybody,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. “They won on the road at Virginia Tech. They beat Penn State twice, they beat Michigan twice and they’ve beaten Illinois. They are good, and I don’t think you are going to find many people that want to play them in the NCAA tournament.”Last night’s win capped off not only a turbulent regular season for the Badgers, but also the careers of Marcus Landry, Joe Krabbenhoft, Kevin Gullikson and Morris Cain, who played their last game at the Kohl Center. Krabbenhoft made the most of the night, scoring a career-high 19 points while going 5-of-10 from the field and 9-for-10 from the charity stripe.Wisconsin guard Jason Bohannon came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, scoring eight of the Badgers’ first 10 points. He eventually finished with 15 points, including going 3-for-7 from 3-point range.Bohannon’s strong performance was a large improvement from the Minnesota game, where he went 0-for-3 from the field and failed to tally single point in Minneapolis.Like the first game, the Hoosiers played the Badgers close for most of the first half. However, with the score 26-20 with 5:16 left to go before halftime, the Badgers were able to go on a 14-3 run, capped off by a Gullikson baseline jumper with five seconds left in the period.“Everyone was in-sync,” Krabbenhoft said of the five-minute run. “I thought Kevin did a really good job there in the last few minutes of the first half. That baseline jumper with a couple seconds to go was huge, it was a big momentum swing.”In the second half, the Badgers were able to open up the lead by as much as 24 points, which ended up being the final margin of victory. Wisconsin was able to move the ball well, putting up 10 assists while only giving up four turnovers. Overall, UW had a 19-to-6 assist to turnover ratio for the game.“Looking at the assists like that, it says a lot,” Bohannon said. “Marcus had six assists tonight. He did a great job of kicking out of the post when he had a double team on himself, and we are a dangerous team when we can do that.”The one bright spot for the Hoosiers was the play of Verdell Jones III, who finished with a game high 23 points on 7-of-10 from the field and 2-for-2 from 3-point range. Indiana guard Nick Williams also contributed 19 points.“Verdell is getting a lot better and is becoming a bona fide both ends of the court guy in this league, as is Nick.” Crean said. “The minutes that they play this year are certainly going to be invaluable to them in the future.”The win against the Hoosiers marks the end of an up and down season where the Badgers saw themselves go on a six-game losing streak, then come back to win six in a row. On senior night, however, the players treated it as they would any game.“Once you get on the court and the ball starts bouncing and the other bodies are across from you when you play, it’s what you’ve been doing for how many years, how many practices, how many games,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “As athletes, if you close everything else out and just put us on the court and let us play … then you play and everything just comes naturally.”While the Badgers ended their season on a high note and have high expectations for playing the post season, Crean’s Hoosiers are hoping to just get a win Thursday when they play Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.Against the Badgers last night, his team gave up 16 turnovers, including 12 in the first half. They were also outrebounded 28-19.“We can look at the glass half full or we can look at it half empty. I choose to look at it half full,” Crean said of his team’s performance this year. “I try to look at it as half full as much as possible and have us learn as much as we can. It doesn’t make it any easier when you are going through it.”last_img

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