Wed. Final: Wisconsin 69, Iowa 52
Next game: Saturday, February 14 vs. Ohio State
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Traditional Big Ten heavyweight Wisconsin was on the ropes a few weeks ago, caught in a six-game skid that took the team out of serious conference title contention and put its NCAA tournament future in doubt.
But after beating Iowa 69-52 on Wednesday night to win their third straight game, the Badgers appear to be closer to where they expected to be on the court -- even if it's not reflected in the standings.
"We've learned from those tough losses we had just a couple weeks ago," said Joe Krabbenhoft, who tied a career high with 16 points. "You're seeing what this team can do."
Badgers coach Bo Ryan didn't want to reflect on the recent upward trend, preferring to focus on his preparation for Saturday's game against No. 24 Ohio State.
"Winning streaks, losing streaks, I've never acted any differently," Ryan said.
Jason Bohannon added 15 and Marcus Landry had 9 to become the 33rd 1,000-point scorer in school history as the Badgers (15-9, 6-6 Big Ten) continued their recent rebound.
Jake Kelly scored 17 for the Hawkeyes (13-12, 3-9), who played without injured forward Cyrus Tate. He has missed eight of the past nine games because of an ankle injury. Iowa also lost guard Jeff Peterson after he hurt his leg in the second half.
Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said Tate, who played 13 minutes in the Hawkeyes' victory over Northwestern on Saturday, was sore after the Hawkeyes' shootaround. And while Lickliter said he didn't have a full report on Peterson, he believed the main problem was cramping.
Meanwhile, Lickliter wasn't thrilled with the way his healthy players performed.
"They shot it well and we could not take care of it," Lickliter said. "So you are not going to win if you have four assists and 14 turnovers against Wisconsin."
Iowa's turnovers led to 29 Wisconsin points -- a figure so efficient that Ryan was skeptical of its accuracy.
"I'll have to check it," Ryan said.
Iowa was in contention early on, using a 7-0 run to cut Wisconsin's lead to three on Jarryd Cole's putback with 2:37 left before halftime. But the Badgers took control in the final two minutes of the half as one of the Hawkeyes lost his cool.
Trevon Hughes hit a jumper, then made a steal and hit a fast-break layup to put the Badgers up 31-24 with 21.4 seconds left. Landry and Iowa's Matt Gatens tangled under the basket after Hughes' layup, and Gatens gave Landry a hard shove with his right arm -- earning a technical foul.
Lickliter called it a big play that was "very avoidable" on Gatens' part.
"He was kind of in my face," Gatens said. "I don't know, I guess I hit him a little too hard. That kind of stuff happens a lot under the basket when you're trying to get the ball. I guess that time I hit him a little too hard and he fell over."
After getting knocked down, Landry said he got up emphatically in part so the officials would take notice.
"I sort of 'sold' the end of it," Landry said.
But Landry wasn't about to retaliate.
"Hey, I'm not that kind of guy anyway," Landry said. "I'm always smiling."
Bohannon made both foul shots, then hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to give Wisconsin a 36-24 lead at halftime.
Wisconsin's momentum continued after halftime as the Badgers put together big plays. Landry blocked a 3-point attempt by Peterson, leading to Jon Leuer's dunk off a Hughes bounce pass with the shot clock running down on the other end to put the Badgers up 48-32.
Landry later was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one, but rebounded his own miss for a putback layup and was fouled again. Landry completed the three-point play to put Wisconsin ahead 51-32 with 13:28 left.
Things got even worse for the Hawkeyes when Peterson appeared to hurt his right leg as he lost control of his dribble and slid to the floor with about 10 minutes left in the game. He got up and tried to get back on defense, but fell to the floor again and had to be helped off the court. Trainers attended to Peterson on the Hawkeyes' bench, placing a wrap on his right thigh.
Lickliter said Peterson was "pretty sore" and limping, but likely had a cramp in his hamstring.
While the Hawkeyes are hurting, the Badgers are back on a roll.
"We're just happy to be playing well again and getting the wins -- like we're supposed to," Bohannon said.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)