D’Mitrik Trice and Tyler Wahl came through in a huge way in clutch time against Indiana Thursday night, nailing clutch shot after clutch shot to sink a pesky Hoosier team 80-73 in double overtime.
In the last two minutes of regulation, plus the last two minutes of each overtime tonight Trice put up 11 points on 4-5 shooting, including 1-1 from deep and 2-2 from the free throw line to help the Badgers claw back into the game in both situations. Wahl showed out in double overtime, hitting a couple of dagger three’s over Hoosier defenders to seal the game.
“Heck of a college game,” head coach Greg Gard said after the game. “I hope those that viewed it enjoyed it. Two really good teams going at it and I thought we responded when our backs were against the wall.”
No. 8 Wisconsin was able to jump out to a five point lead in the first half, but their offense was slow all night long, shooting a pedestrian 40 percent from the field and less than 33 percent from deep during regulation.
Indiana on the other hand came out red hot in the second half, shooting 67 percent from the field including 28 of 37 points scored in the paint. That was enough to claw them back into the game, and take a 56-50 lead with six minutes left.
Trayce Jackson-Davis was phenomenal leading the Hoosiers all night, posting a double double with 23 points and 12 rebounds including four assists and three blocks, doing all his damage inside the paint. Indiana was able to score 44 points in the paint on the night, passing the previous season high of 40 points down low the Badgers gave up against Maryland.
“We started off the game well defensively, but hit that lapse in the second half,” Wahl said after the game. “We pride ourselves on keeping them out of the paint, and needed to keep that up.”
However, after Trice split a pair of free throws at the line, Wahl was able to strip the ball from Indiana’s workhorse Jackson-Davis and slam it home to snap the Hoosiers momentum and bring Wisconsin closer in the game.
“It’s a gritty group, and tonight was all about defense,” Gard said after the game. “At some point I just decided I need to have my best defensive group out there unless they foul out or their legs fall off.”
The Badgers found themselves down a basket with under a minute left, when Trice decided to put the backpack on and carry Wisconsin into overtime, and eventually double overtime. Trice hit a tough jumper with a defender in his face to tie the game at 61, and a dubious no-call at the other end on a Jackson-Davis miss sent the game to OT.
“At times we got a little stagnant on offense, and I started to feel I needed the ball in my hands to make a play for someone else or to find my own shot,” Trice said. “I think it just shows off all the work that I’ve put in during my time here to be able to do that.”
Wisconsin then found itself down a basket again with seconds remaining in overtime, and again turned to Trice, who hit an ice cold 12-foot floater that sent the game to double overtime tied at 69.
With about 3:30 left in double overtime, Wahl was the guy to step up for the Badgers, hitting back to back three’s from the corner to put Wisconsin up by seven points. The Hoosiers seemed to let up after those shots, and Wisconsin was able to coast to the 80-73 victory.
“[Shooting] has been something I’ve been working really hard on since this summer,” Wahl said. “So I just kind of let those shots fly — and I was just really excited to hit both of them.”
“Before tonight [Wahl] was 2-9 from behind the arc, so for him, it's about confidence and that's typical for any young player,” Gard said. “It was great to see him hit those shots at the end and to see that huge smile on his face.”
It was a huge team win for the Badgers, who saw four players (Trice, Wahl, Potter, Reuvers) score in double figures and 80 percent free throw shooting (16-20).
Wisconsin travels to red hot No. 10 Michigan Tuesday for a clash between two top 10 Big Ten teams. Tip is set for 6 p.m.