The Wisconsin and Indiana game was one of the most insane comebacks in Badger history. Wisconsin came back from a 22-point deficit to beat Indiana 64-59. The biggest comeback win since Wisconsin also erased a 22-point deficit in an 82-81 victory over Ohio State in 1976. Indiana has not won a game against the Badgers at home since 1998. Head Coach for the Badgers, Greg Gard, coaches his players game by game, possession by possession. Lorne Bowman II and Jahcobi Neath both sat out for non-COVID 19 illnesses.
Gard claimed the players play for the letters on their jerseys, not about polls. This coaching tactic works as the Badgers head into their away Saturday game against No. 21 Ohio State with an 8-1 record. The Badgers, against Marquette last Saturday, also had a slow start but pulled through. The same pattern returned as the Badgers trailed 42-20 late in the first half and were still down by 18 with less than 18 minutes left.
Wisconsin shot from the perimeter the entire first half due to the Hoosiers defense. Not Wisconsin’s strong suit and they ended the first half shooting 1-10 from the three. Indiana thrived on defense during the first half. They were quick and aggressive. Indiana had 23 rebounds, and Wisconsin had only 14. However, the second half of the game was a different story. The Badgers were pounding the interior offensively and bringing speed and aggression to their defense.
Sophomore guard, Johnny Davis, was lighting on the court; he was everywhere – hitting threes, dunk shots, and driving hard in the paint. Tyler Wahl was a playmaker and hit a decent amount of jump shots, along with backing down on the post. Wahl is a wide-body and a defensive asset for the Badgers. He led the Badgers with 12 total rebounds.
After half time, the Badgers were fast, grabbing every loose ball; and throwing their bodies on the line. The Badgers only led for 03:01 of the entire game. “We needed to get back to our DNA of toughness and grit.” Coach Gard said, “We were on our heels a little bit, and then guys got into foul trouble and not the normal rotation, so everything seemed off. But in the second half, we were able to get our defense going.”
As Indiana lost momentum, Johnny Davis and Chucky Hepburn were money on the line. Both players hit clutch free throws that put the Badgers back in the game, Hepburn going 4 of 4 on free-throw attempts over the final 24 seconds. Davis ended the game scoring 23 points and made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:18 left to help Wisconsin win its sixth straight game.
After shooting 54.8% in the first half, the Hoosiers went just 7 of 31 over the final 20 minutes. They also were just 6 of 13 on free-throw attempts, and Trayce Jackson-Davis, a preseason Associated Press All-America selection, was held to a season-low nine points.
The Badger team is young, but they stand by playing Wisconsin basketball. They are ready to get back to work to continue their winning streak against Ohio State on Saturday.