To say Wisconsin and Iowa basketball donâ€™t get along is putting it mildly, and with events in recent years on and off the court this game has never been more fierce. So when No. 25 Iowa came to visit No. 5 Wisconsin in the Kohl Center you can bet the energy was palpable.
It didnâ€™t take long for nervous energy to turn to pure joy though, as the returning students celebrated the Badgersâ€™ (17-2, 5-1 B1G) 82-50 win over the Hawkeyes (13-6, 4-2 B1G).
Wisconsin simply put on a clinic in taking down the visiting Hawkeyes, with four players scoring in double figures and the team nearly shooting 50 percent from the field for the game.
The Badgers were led by senior center Frank Kaminsky who had his eighth double double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. However, he also was a great teammate with six assists as well.
Hayes, who had 16 points on the night started things off with the first four of the game for Badgers, but Iowa was able to answer each basket. It appeared we were in for a classic barnburner between the two rivals, but then Wisconsin found its three-point shot and things were over from that point on.
Kaminsky, Koening and Gasser hit back-to-back-to-back triples after Wisconsin and Iowa were deadlocked at 4-4. As a result the lead ballooned to 13-4 with 15:59 left in the first half and the Badgers began to force Iowa to chase the game from then on.
Wisconsin ran itâ€™s lead to double digits quickly after that and it wasnâ€™t just some hot shooting either.Â The Badgers defense came up big, forcing Iowa to shoot just 25 percent (6-24) from the field and held a 20-15 rebounding advantage at the half.
It also helped that UW was able to take care of the basketball in a way few teams have been able to, resulting in no turnovers by the intermission.
Dekker led all scorers in the first half with 10 points (3-5 shooting) and had six rebounds to go with it, as the Badgers led 35-17 at the half. He would finish the night with a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds as well.
Iowa came out shooting hot to start the second half, but Wisconsin wasnâ€™t going cold either and no matter what the Hawkeyes were able to do the lead never was in jeopardy.
Wisconsin fans hearts went in to their throats as senior guard Josh Gasser stopped after a defensive play clutching his shoulder. The injury happened with 12:40 left in the 2nd half and UW up 53-28, however it appears he dislocated his shoulder and ESPN reported the training staff popped his shoulder back in place.
Luckily it didnâ€™t matter much with the Badgers clearly in control of the contest, and reserve guard Zak Showalter playing some good basketball before Gasser went out injured.
Wisconsin didnâ€™t stop pouring it on either, as they went up by as many as 30 points (60-30 with 9:15 left to play) and the game was never even close to in doubt during the second stanza of action.
Badger of the Game: Frank Kaminsky
In a game where one could easily pick between Dekker, Hayes, Kaminsky and Koenig there was little doubt in our minds who was the key. That was Kaminsky, who nearly messed around and had a triple double.
Yes, the 7-footer had 12 points, 11 rebounds and a crazy team-high six assist on the night. Donâ€™t adjust your monitors, you are seeing a 7-foot center who nearly had a triple double in points, rebounds and assists. If thereâ€™s a game that highlights why he should be national Player of the Year.
Key Moment: triple triples
Wisconsin was tied 4-4 with Iowa early in the contest and it appeared it could be more of the same between the two. However that would be the end of the close matchup in the first half as UW hit three three-pointers in consecutive trips down the floor for a nine-point advantage.
Not only did UW gain momentum, but it completely deflated the Hawkeyes and they went from relatively hot shooting to not being able to hit the broad side of a pig farm. Without that 9-0 runout by the Badgers this game couldâ€™ve been a close one all night long.
Up Next: Sat., Jan. 24; @ Michigan (6pm CT, ESPN)