By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — No. 22 Wisconsin made the plays down the stretch to hand the No. 14/15 University of Iowa men’s basketball team its first loss of the season, downing the Hawkeyes, 72-66, Friday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We played hard, we fought against a great team,” said junior Tyler Cook, who finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds. “It always hurts when you have a chance to win down the stretch. A couple of things we did or didn’t do, decided the game.
“It’s frustrating, but encouraging at the same time. We’re right there against another great, ranked team. We just have to figure out how to seal the deal.”
Iowa took a 61-60 lead when freshman Joe Wieskamp converted a three-point play with 3:13 remaining. Wisconsin’s Brevin Pritzl put the Badgers on top with a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:35 remaining and the lead was 65-61 following a driving layup from Ethan Happ.
Junior Jordan Bohannon drew Happ’s fifth foul with 45.8 seconds left and he converted both free throws to make it a one-possession game. Wisconsin’s D’Mitrik Trice drained a dagger 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to put the Badgers up five before Bohannon answered four seconds later, making it 68-66.
Wisconsin’s Brad Davidson sank both free throws with 15 seconds to play to push the lead to 70-66 and Iowa’s chances ended when Wieskamp’s step-back 3-pointer fell short.
“We didn’t do some things down the stretch that we wanted to,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “But we also did some things we wanted to — we ran good action, the ball didn’t go in.”
Wisconsin shot 44.0 percent from the field and made eight 3-pointers. Iowa shot 36.7 percent and went just 6-of-24 from 3-point range. The Hawkeyes had season-lows in free throws (14) and attempts (19).
Junior Tyler Cook was a monster for Iowa in a highly-anticipated matchup against Happ, a preseason All-American. Cook’s 10th career double-double came on an 8-of-15 night from the field and he had four of Iowa’s nine assists.
Sophomore Luka Garza and Bohannon scored 11 points apiece.
After going into the half tied at 27, the Hawkeyes built their lead to as many as eight points seven minutes into the second half. Bohannon’s 3-pointer put Iowa up 34-30 and a Garza bank shot over Happ made the score 41-36. Garza’s three-point play with 12:56 left gave Iowa a 46-38 lead.
Wisconsin fought back as Happ’s three-point play cut the lead to 52-50. Trice’s layup tied the game at 54 with 8:23 remaining.
Trice led Wisconsin with 20 points, making 6-of-14 field goals, including four 3-pointers.
QUOTING SENIOR NICHOLAS BAER
“When you look at the game as a whole, we struggled a little bit executing down the stretch. We came out in the second half and were able to jump out to a little lead. Something we have to learn to do is bury teams when we have that opportunity.
“There were multiple times when we were up eight with the ball and if you get a bucket there, it is double digits and it’s a different game. Credit to Wisconsin, they were able to fight back. Some of their guys made big plays down the stretch and unfortunately we couldn’t come away with the win.”
COOK VS. HAPP
The matchup featuring in Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard’s words “two of the better players in the Big Ten” didn’t disappoint. Cook showed back-to-the-basket game en route to his 10th career double-double and unconventional game saw him put up a line of 13/7/5.
“We did a pretty good job,” said Cook. “We limited his touches pretty well and made him think a few times when he put the ball on the deck. He got a few easy ones around the basket that we wanted to avoid, but good players are going to find a way to get a couple of easy ones.”
- Wisconsin had a 38-26 advantage in points in the paint.
- Iowa had 15 second-chance points, courtesy of its 11 offensive rebounds.
- The Hawkeyes had an 18-8 edge in fast-break points.
- Iowa had 12 turnovers against its nine assists.
ON THE HORIZON
Iowa (6-1) returns to action Monday, traveling to East Lansing, Michigan, to face No. 8/9 Michigan State. Tipoff is set for 5:35 p.m. (CT).