IU's Drought In Madison Continues, Hoosiers Fall to Badgers
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Unwanted history repeated itself.
Wisconsin was once again too much for Indiana.
Not even a career scoring night from Collin Hartman was enough for the Hoosiers to defeat a battered Badger team.
Wisconsin's Ethan Happ saw to that.
IU faded in the second half of Tuesday night's 71-61 loss amid a Happ onslaught of 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists, steals and two blocks.
Hartman did his part to change that, coming off the bench to score 18 points, three more points than he'd ever had before in a college game. He added four rebounds and a blocked shot.
But that's not what got coach Archie Miller's attention.
He saw second-half rebounding that wasn't nearly good enough.
Wisconsin had a 30-22 rebounding edge, 20-8 in the second half.
"We got out worked in the second half, and that showed up on the glass," Miller told Voice of the Hoosiers Don Fischer during the post-game radio show. "It's one of the main things we continue to talk about. For our team to improve and be better in Big Ten play, we have to become a better defensive rebounding team.
"We were pretty good in the first half, but it was 20-8 on the glass in the second half. They just dominated us on the second shots."
The result was an all-too familiar scenario.
The Hoosiers (8-7 overall, 1-2 in the Big Ten) have lost 16 straight times in the Kohl Center, and haven't won there since 1998. They are 8-27 against Wisconsin since 2000.
Miller was less concerned about that than he was about getting IU to play its Big Ten potential.
"We have to be better at rebounding," he told Fischer. "The biggest disappointment in the second half was our lack of rebounding. "
Indiana has four days to find an answer. It plays at Minnesota (12-3) on Saturday.
"We have to be a lot better and tougher, a lot more ready than (Tuesday night)," Miller said. "It gives us another opportunity. We have some days to evaluate and prepare. We have to be ready. Minnesota is really good."
For much of Tuesday night's first half, Indiana was good -- thanks to Hartman.
That could have been a disaster.
Hartman ensured that it wasn't.
He took over for Davis and was a one-man first-half wonder. He had 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting along with four rebounds and a blocked shot.
The result -- IU had a 33-30 halftime lead.
Hartman had hustle help from Zach McRoberts, who earned his first start of the season ahead of Al Durham. It was the reward for McRoberts' difference-making intensity in recent weeks, and reflected Miller's attempt to stop the slow starts that had hindered IU for much of the season.
It worked. The Hoosiers surged to a 17-10 early lead.
Wisconsin's vulnerability had surfaced with three home losses and enough key injuries to wreck a season. It got worse a few hours before Tuesday's game when starting guard Brevin Pritzl suffered a head injury during shoot-around.
He was out, but Happ was in. He had 15 first-half points on 6-for-7 shooting to keep the Badgers (9-7, 2-1) within three points at halftime.
"They moved him around," Miller said. "He was catching the ball far out at times. That made it difficult for us to bring a second guy on him.
"They kept their spacing. They made some shots out of the post. If you do play him 1 on 1, you saw how hard he is to guard. He almost fouled our whole team out in the first half."
An early back-and-forth second half turned into a Badger advantage with a 7-0 run for a 51-45 lead.
The Hoosiers struggled to cut into that deficit, mostly because they couldn't slow down Happ, rebound effectively or defend the three (Wisconsin finished 7-for-15 beyond the arc).
Morgan asserted himself to finish with 17 points, four rebounds and four steals. Robert Johnson had 14 points and five assists.
It wasn't enough.
Miller wasn't about to blame the free throw disparity. Wisconsin was 18-for-24 from the line to IU's 9-for-10.
"That's playing through Happ," Miller said. "We weren't as tough minded on defense. They were the more aggressive team. They earned those free throw attempts."