WASHINGTON (AP) Showing signs that its late-season swoon might be over, No. 24 Wisconsin slowed Indiana’s offense and used Ethan Happ’s 14 points and 12 rebounds to beat the Hoosiers 70-60 in the Big Ten quarterfinals Friday night.
Bronson Koenig scored 16 points to lead five Badgers in double figures.
No. 2 seed Wisconsin (24-8) dropped five of six games down the stretch but now has won two in a row, including its conference tournament opener against 10th-seeded Indiana (18-15), which scored so easily a night earlier while beating Iowa.
The Badgers next play the winner of Friday’s last quarterfinal, between No. 25 Maryland and Northwestern.
Wisconsin was able to handle an Indiana team that led the Big Ten in scoring (80.4 points) and field-goal percentage (48.4) this season and set several league tourney school marks in its 95-73 win against Iowa, including for points, field-goal percentage (60.3) and 3-pointers made (12).
This time, Indiana shot only 41.1 percent and had 12 turnovers, five more than Wisconsin.
James Blackmon Jr. led Indiana with 17 points, but freshman De’Ron Davis had only two points on 1-of-6 shooting after going 7-for-7 for 15 points Thursday.
Indiana made its initial pair of attempts from beyond the arc – by Blackmon, then Robert Johnson – but started 0 for 6 from everywhere else. The Hoosiers simply could not find the bottom of the net with any consistency, the way they did in each of their previous two games, when they reached 95 points in consecutive outings for the first time since 1998.
During one stretch of the first half against Wisconsin, Indiana went nearly four minutes without a point, going from leading 22-19 to trailing 28-22.
There were problems later in that half for the Hoosiers, including shot-clock violations on consecutive possessions, as the Badgers went up 33-27 at the break. Until Juwan Morgan’s three-point play with just under 30 seconds remaining, Indiana’s 24 points were fewer than half as many as the 52 it scored in the opening 20 minutes against Iowa.
Indiana shot just 35.5 percent in the first half against Wisconsin.
Another 9-0 run for Wisconsin, capped by Happ’s inside basket, boosted its lead to 47-33 a little more than 6 minutes into the second half. The Badgers later went up by 15, and while the Hoosiers did get within 64-60 in the closing 1 1/2 minutes, Wisconsin held on.
Indiana: Could be headed to the NIT.
Wisconsin: If it can keep winning this week, can hope to stay close to home in Milwaukee for the start of what will be a 19th consecutive trip to the NCAAs.
Wisconsin: Faces 25th-ranked Maryland or Northwestern in Saturday’s semifinals.
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