The Grateful Red were given free towels to cheer on the Wisconsin men's basketball team Saturday against Indiana, but it was the Hoosiers who threw in the towels moments after the tip-off.
En route to an 83-55 clinic over Indiana (3-9 Big Ten, 9-15 overall), No. 13 Wisconsin (9-4, 19-6) shot almost 51 percent from the field and dished 18 assists. It was the Badgers' highest point total in a Big Ten game this year, and it proved to be an effective cure for the loss to Illinois last Tuesday.
The Badgers' guards, seniors Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon along with sophomore Jordan Taylor, were responsible for Wisconsin's quick start. Hughes hit a 3 for the first points of the game which was followed by a finesse layup by Taylor before Bohannon capped off the instant 8-0 run with his first 3 of the game.
Bohannon, who entered the game scoring at least 15 points in his last 3 contests, was absolutely on fire. He hit 7-of-11 from behind the arc on his way to scoring 30 points, the highest total for any Badger this season.
""He is so good off the dribble, and I think because he has become such a multi-dimensional player, it makes his three-point shooting that much better,"" Indiana head coach Tom Crean said of Bohannon. ""He is one of the absolute best shooters that I've seen and always gets in the flow of what they are trying to do.""
Indiana's young team just couldn't handle the experienced Badgers. The Hoosiers had 21 turnovers and were heavily outmatched on the glass. Wisconsin pulled down 33 rebounds, including 15 offensive boards, which tied a season high. By allowing the Badgers to dominate the rebounds, the Hoosiers were playing with a double-edged sword. The extra chances not only helped slow the pace of the game, but were also responsible for Wisconsin's success behind the 3-point line.
""A lot of them were second-chance points, where we would get the rebound and kick it out and find the open guy, or [Hughes] would penetrate and find the open guy,"" Bohannon said of Wisconsin's 3s. ""Those are always the best shots, when you get passes from inside the paint and you can step into the shot.""
The Badgers went into the locker room with a 46-24 lead. It was the most points they have scored going into the half this year since they put up 51 against Cal Poly. An emphatic slam from junior forward Keaton Nankivil opened the second half and then it was showtime for Bohannon.
In a span of less than 4 minutes, Bohannon exploded for 14 points and a 3 at the end of that streak gave Wisconsin its biggest lead at 74-39.
""Jason was feeling it today and we just have to keep finding the open man,"" Hughes said. ""It definitely is a good feeling to have somebody on the court who can knock down the open shots. It opens up the court and leaves the driving lane open for Jordan and me.""
Wisconsin had a 20-point advantage over Indiana for the entire second half and only allowed two Hoosiers to score over 10 points. Freshman forward Christian Watford had a team-high 15 and sophomore guard Verdell Jones added 11.
""We started out well and we just needed to finish the game strong,"" Bohannon said. ""We wanted to keep pushing them further and further and that was something that we accomplished. We want to keep doing that continuously throughout the rest of the year.""