Zak Showalter

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Wisconsin beats No. 8 Iowa, continuing recent hot streak

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As one of the Big Ten’s most improved players, Iowa’s Peter Jok has become a primary offensive option alongside Jarrod Uthoff for one of the conference’s best teams. And in the first half of Wednesday’s game against Wisconsin the junior was nearly unstoppable, scoring 17 of Iowa’s 34 first-half points. Wisconsin needed to slow him down in order to win, and thanks in large part to the defense of Zak Showalter the Badgers managed to do just that.

Jok scored just four points in the second stanza thanks to Showalter, and thanks to contributions throughout the lineup Wisconsin produced a 67-59 victory in Iowa City. At one point 9-9 on the season (1-4 in Big Ten play), Wisconsin’s now won nine of its last ten games. And at 10-5 in conference play Greg Gard’s team is still a factor in the Big Ten title race, something that few envisioned for this team six weeks ago.

Bronson Koenig scored 15 points and Nigel Hayes ten, and while they’ve matured throughout the season so has the rest of the roster. The role players made the difference Wednesday night, be it Showalter with his defense or reserves such as Charlie Thomas and Khalil Iverson providing a needed spark off the bench. Wisconsin received 23 points from its bench compared to four for Iowa, and that combined with Wisconsin’s defense was the difference.

Jok was quiet in the second half thanks to Showalter, and Wisconsin also limited Jarrod Uthoff to 11 points on 3-for-12 shooting. Earlier in the season Iowa was receiving points from a host of players, so even with Uthoff playing at an All-American level and Jok not far behind Fran McCaffery’s team proved incredibly difficult to slow down offensively. That hasn’t been the case of late, one reason why Iowa’s lost three of its last four games.

If Iowa, which now trails Indiana by a game in the Big Ten standings, is to win the conference title it will need more from the likes of Mike Gesell (four points, 2-for-9 FG) and Dom Uhl (two points, 1-for-4 shooting) than they’ve received in recent games.

With its defense Wisconsin made those players beat them, and Iowa couldn’t get it done. Hayes and Koenig will continue to lead the way for the Badgers as this team approaches the NCAA tournament. But the reason why Wisconsin will hear its name called when the field is announced, not to mention be a threat to win once there, is the fact that the players who aren’t the headliners have improved throughout the course of the season.

And that’s a credit to the players and their head coach, who continues to strengthen his case to have the interim tag removed.

SATURDAY’S SNACKS: No. 2 Kansas, No. 5 Virginia win

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 19 West Virginia 87, Kansas State 83 (2OT)

If this game was any indicator of things to come, the Big 12 regular season is going to be ridiculous once again. The Mountaineers held on for the road win in the Octagon of Doom as Jaysean Paige had 25 points and seven rebounds. More on this one here.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 2 Kansas 102, No. 23 Baylor 74: Two days before their showdown with No. 2 Oklahoma the Jayhawks made a major statement in their Big 12 opener, blowing out Baylor in Lawrence. The favorites to win the Big 12 (again), the Jayhawks showed why they’ll likely be the top team in the national rankings Monday.

No. 3 Oklahoma 87, No. 11 Iowa State 83: The Cyclones led for much of the game but were unable to hang on in Norman. Lon Kruger’s Sooners remain undefeated ahead of their showdown with Kansas Monday night, and they have a senior guard who struggled in their last game in Isaiah Cousins to thank for it.

No. 6 Xavier 88, No. 9 Butler 69: Convincing Big East home win for the Musketeers, who played without talented freshman Edmond Sumner. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on why this bounce-back win was so important for Xavier.

Texas Tech 82, Texas 74: Everyone keeps asking if Tubby Smith’s Red Raiders are for real and this was one of their better wins of the season. Texas Tech is now 11-1 as Devaugntah Williams had 23 points and was 13-for-13 from the free-throw line.

STARRED

Bucknell’s Chris Hass: Hass was incredible in the Bison’s win at Army-West Point, scoring 40 points. He scored 32 on 11-for-11 shooting from the field in the first half.

Wisconsin’s Zak Showalter: The Badgers defeated Rutgers for a Big Ten home win as the sophomore guard was 8-for-8 from the field for 21 points on the afternoon. Showalter was 4-for-4 from 3-point range.

LSU’s Ben Simmons: Simmons went off in the Tigers’ win at Vanderbilt, scoring 36 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

STRUGGLED

Texas players not named Isaiah Taylor: The Longhorns lost to Texas Tech as Taylor (35 points, six assists) didn’t get much help from his teammates. The rest of the Texas roster was 14-for-38 (36 percent) from the field and 2-for-8 from the free-throw line.

Syracuse’s Michael Gbinije: Gbinije struggled with the matchup with Miami’s Angel Rodriguez, shooting 3-for-14 from the field (ten points) and committing eight turnovers in the 64-51 loss.

Temple’s perimeter shooting: After performing well offensively in a win at No. 22 Cincinnati earlier in the week, the Owls struggled in a blowout loss to Houston. Temple shot 3-for-23 from beyond the arc on the day.

OTHER TOP 25 RESULTS

  • No. 1 Michigan State rebounded from its loss at Iowa with a 69-61 win at Minnesota. Bryn Forbes scored 20 points to lead the way for the Spartans, who competed with greater intensity than they did Tuesday night.
  • Melo Trimble scored 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out eight assists to lead No. 4 Maryland to a 72-59 win at Northwestern.
  • No. 5 Virginia began its quest for another finish atop the ACC regular season standings with a 77-66 win over Notre Dame in Charlottesville. Malcolm Brogdon scored 24 points and Anthony Gill 21 for Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers.
  • It was a tight game for about 35 minutes and then No. 7 North Carolina used some late runs to knock off Georgia Tech. Brice Johnson had 16 points, 11 rebounds and Joel Berry had 19 points and some key late buckets.
  • No. 10 Kentucky rolled past Ole Miss in its SEC opener 83-61. Tyler Ulis scored 20 points and Jamal Murray 18 for the 11-2 Wildcats.
  • Kris Dunn tallied 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals as No. 12 Providence beat St. John’s 83-65. Ben Bentil added 20 points and nine rebounds.
  • JaQuan Newton hit two key three-pointers in the second half as No. 13 Miami beat Syracuse, 64-51. Sheldon McClellan led the Hurricanes offensively with 22 points on the afternoon.
  • Expect to see Iowa in the polls come Monday. After beating No. 1 Michigan State earlier in the week the Hawkeyes won at No. 14 Purdue, erasing a 17-point halftime deficit to win 70-63.
  • Brandon Ingram compiled 25 points, nine rebounds, three assists and one poster dunk as No. 15 Duke won 81-64 at Boston College. In total four Blue Devils scored in double figures.
  • No. 16 Villanova moved to 2-0 in Big East play with an 85-71 win at Creighton. Josh Hart scored 25 points and Daniel Ochefu added 19 and seven boards for the Wildcats.
  • No. 17 SMU moved to 13-0 with a comfortable home win over USF. The Mustangs did it without guard Keith Frazier, who missed the game for personal reasons.
  • Jalen Jones scored 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead No. 20 Texas A&M to a 92-69 win over Arkansas in the SEC opener for both.
  • No. 22 Cincinnati rebounded from its home loss to Temple earlier in the week with a 76-57 win over Tulsa. All ten Bearcats who played in the game scored, with Farad Cobb (21 points) being the lone player in double figures.
  • No. 24 South Carolina moved to 13-0 on the season with a ten-point win over Memphis. Sindarius Thornwell led three in double figures with 18 points.

NOTABLE RESULTS

  • To begin the day, Seton Hall held off DePaul for a home Big East win as Isaiah Whitehead had 18 points, nine assists.
  • Playing without senior guard Caris LeVert, Michigan got hot in the first half and ran past Penn State. Mark Donnal had 16 points and eight rebounds to continue a strong recent stretch of play.
  • Houston moved to 2-0 in the American and 12-2 overall with a blowout road win at Temple. Rob Gray Jr. had 23 points and six assists in the win.
  • Clemson followed up its College Football Playoff win with a home basketball win over Florida State as Jordan Roper had 23 points.
  • Alabama, Clemson’s opponent in the College Football Playoff next week, also found success on the hardwood with an easy win over Norfolk State. Retin Obasohan had 23 points.
  • In the Bruce Pearl Bowl, Auburn outlasted Tennessee as Kareem Canty had 20 points.
  • Georgetown moved to 2-0 in Big East play with an 80-70 win over Marquette that wasn’t as close as the final margin would lead one to believe. Marcus Derrickson led the way with 16 points and six rebounds.
  • DeAndre Bembry hit a big shot in the game’s final minute to give Saint Joseph’s a close win at Richmond in the A-10 opener for two teams hoping to contend for the league title.
  • Also winning their A-10 openers were Dayton and Rhode Island, with the Flyers limiting Duquesne to 33.8 percent shooting and URI blowing out Saint Louis.
  • LSU won its SEC opener at Vanderbilt, beating the Commodores 90-82 in Nashville. Ben Simmons had 36 points and 14 rebounds.
  • In a matchup of the two teams expected to compete for the SWAC crown, Texas Southern blew out Southern 88-66.
  • UT-Arlington moved to 11-2 on the season with a 92-72 win over Georgia Southern. Scott Cross’ team scored 50 points in the second half to pull away at home, and Kevin Hervey finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
  • Florida beat Georgia 77-63 in Gaineville, with KeVaughn leading five Gators in double figures with 18 points.
  • St. Bonaventure took care of Davidson, beating the Wildcats 97-85 in Olean. Jaylen Adams led five Bonnies in double figures with 30 points.
  • UConn held off Tulane in New Orleans, beating the Green Wave by a final score of 75-67. Rodney Purvis scored 20 points and Daniel Hamilton added 19 and nine rebounds.
  • Gonzaga came back from 17 down in the second half to win 102-94 at San Francisco. Domas Sabonis went for 35 and 14 rebounds and Kyle Wlitjer added 30 for the Bulldogs.