In its final contest of the regular season, 21st-ranked Wisconsin basketball (14-6 Big Ten, 22-9 overall) beat Ohio State (8-12, 18-13) 73-67 in overtime Sunday at the Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. With the win, the Badgers continued their momentum entering the postseason, having won 10 of their last 13 games down the stretch. Here are the takeaways from the game:
Iverson on point again
The senior forward has been red hot in recent games, and continued his fine form against Ohio State, leading the Badgers with a career-high 22 points and 14 rebounds. After struggling to score for much of the season, Iverson has hit his stride as of late, topping 10 points in five of the last six games.
While sophomore guards Brad Davison and D’Mitrik Trice have stagnated, Iverson has come alive, adding nifty post play to his signature dunks. With Iverson heating up, the Badgers have another scoring option as they aim for a run in March.
Badgers earn double bye
The nervy win in Columbus cemented a conference tournament double-bye for the Badgers, who finish the Big Ten season with a 14-6 conference record.
The mark is a massive improvement on the 7-11 conference mark that the Badgers finished with last season, and means they will play a team with heavier legs in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. For a team that lost four of five games at the turn of the year, finishing fourth in arguably the country’s toughest conference is a massive achievement and a sign of the improvements this squad has made.
Badgers defense dominates in first half
Wisconsin held Iowa to 45 points on Thursday, a performance it seemed unlikely to top. The Badgers appeared on pace to do so in the first half, holding the Buckeyes to 16 points on six of 29 shooting. Ohio State missed its first 11 shots of the game and made only two of its 10 layup attempts prior to the intermission.
Badgers show mettle in after huge Buckeye run
Wisconsin led by as many as 23 during the second half, but started to break down as time wound down. A 16-1 run by the Buckeyes tied the game and set the crowd ablaze. The Buckeyes nearly won in regulation, but missed two shots in the final three seconds.
The home team’s offense sputtered throughout overtime, while converted free throws and more heroics from Iverson helped the Badgers seal the victory. Despite his team’s disastrous collapse at the end of regulation, Greg Gard rallied the troops. His team’s response saved Wisconsin from a humiliating defeat.
Happ, Davison hobbled
Senior forward Ethan Happ, who has enjoyed a clean bill of health throughout his career, came up limping in the first half when he stepped on sophomore forward Aleem Ford’s foot. Trainers did not seem to be concerned, and he played 14 minutes in the first half. On the first play of the second half, Happ scored a layup while being fouled, and again appeared hobbled. Davison also went down with a little less than 13 minutes to go in the second half, landing hard on his shoulder.
Though the injuries doesn’t appear serious, and both scored in double-figures the Badgers will be grateful to have several days off to let their stars recuperate. With a double-bye clinched, Happ and Davison will have until Friday to rest up and prepare for the postseason.