Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Wisconsin 65, Indiana 60
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, February 5, 2017
Where: Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin
Officials: # DJ Castensen, # Terry Oglesby, # Terry Wymer
Attendance: 17287

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin senior forward Nigel Hayes didn't need a reminder that it's tough to win in NCAA Division I basketball.

The carnage one day prior to No. 10 Wisconsin's 65-60 Big Ten Conference win against Indiana on Sunday at the Kohl Center told the tale, as six teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 and four Big Ten teams lost on home courts.

"The scary thing is the smaller that number is next to your name, the harder things get," said Hayes, who scored 15 rebounds and had 10 rebounds against the Hoosiers. "It's always tough, but I think it's something that you enjoy, beating the best. No one wants to play in 20-point blowouts night in and night out, so the competition in close games is something we look forward to.

"We also know as that number gets smaller (in the rankings), the bullseye gets bigger and we're going to have to stay on our Ps and Qs and make sure we take care of business."

Sophomore forward Ethan Happ scored a team-high 20 points as Wisconsin took sole possession of first place in the Big Ten Conference standings.

Happ shot 8 of 10 from the field and had seven rebounds for the Badgers, who have won seven consecutive games and 15 straight over Indiana on their home court.

Senior guard Bronson Koenig delivered 11 points for Wisconsin (20-3, 9-1 Big Ten), which shot 39.6 percent from the field to sweep the two-game series over Indiana.

Junior guard Josh Newkirk scored 17 of his game-high 22 points for the Hoosiers, who stayed within striking distance throughout the game.

Sophomore center Thomas Bryant and junior guard Robert Johnson added 11 points each for the Hoosiers (15-9, 5-6), who had 15 turnovers in the setback.

Indiana coach Tom Crean said he was pleased with his team's performance, especially considering the talent missing with injuries to sophomore F OG Anunoby, junior G James Blackmon Jr. and senior F Collin Hartman.

Anunoby, who underwent surgery to repair his right knee, is out for the season, and Hartman is rehabbing a surgically repaired knee. Blackmon, the team's leading scorer at 17.6 points per game, has missed three games with a lower left leg injury.

"We're playing without 35 points and 15 rebounds every time we step out there right now," Crean said of the three players' absences. "You throw that on top of the fact that you're playing against the most experienced team in the country and you can't go out there and allow them to play the way they want to play, and they're very good at that."

Wisconsin persevered despite a poor shooting effort in the first, in which the Badgers became mired in a three-plus minute scoring drought and shot 34.6 percent from the field. Wisconsin also struggled to take care of the ball, with eight first-half miscues.

Newkirk played a solid game for Indiana, delivering critical second-half contributions to keep the Hoosiers close. He snapped a four-plus minute Hoosiers scoring drought with baskets on back-to-back possessions to trim Wisconsin's lead to 35-31 with 12:50 left.

Happ swiped the ball away from Hoosiers junior forward Freddie McSwain Jr. and scored in transition on a one-handed dunk to boost the Badgers to a 54-48 lead with 3:33 left in the game.

Newkirk was relentless from beyond the arc in the final minute as Indiana pulled within two possessions and one possession, but it was too little, too late.

His 3-pointer with 41 seconds left cut Wisconsin's lead to 60-55, and a second Newkirk 3-pointer made it 63-60 with 1 second remaining.

Newkirk shot 7 of 15 from the field, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, but also had five turnovers.

"A couple of possessions didn't go our way and a couple possessions went their way," Crean said. "But our guys were in a great battle mind set. They've been that way and they've been getting better. Their effort, their energy and their will to win was excellent."

Happ and Hayes combined for 17 points to give the Badgers a 27-24 lead at the halftime break.

Happ shot 3 of 4 from the field and was 4 of 7 from the foul line to pace the Badgers, who beat Indiana in a road game at Bloomington in early January.

The Hoosiers picked up the slack after coming up empty its first eight possessions of the game, with 0-of-6 shooting and two turnovers.

Bryant scored seven first-half points during a 14-2 Indiana run that tied the game at 24 at 2:39 of the first half with a pair of free throws from freshman forward De'Ron Davis.

NOTES: Wisconsin sophomore Ethan Happ was named to the 10-player finalist list for for the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year award. Former Badgers player Frank Kaminsky received the accolade in 2015. ... Indiana junior G James Blackmon Jr. was in uniform and participated in dribble drills prior to the game against Wisconsin. Blackmon, the team's scoring leader at 17.6 points per game, has missed two games with a lower left leg injury, and Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said in a pre-game radio interview that "he's getting close" to play. ... Wisconsin senior G Bronson Koenig came out of the game in the first half and went to the locker room with an athletic trainer. Koenig was back on the court several minutes later.
Top Game Performances
Indiana   Wisconsin
Josh Newkirk 22 Scoring Ethan Happ 20
Robert Johnson 6 Assists Bronson Koenig 3
Thomas Bryant 6 Rebounds Nigel Hayes 10
De'Ron Davis 4 Free Throws Made Nigel Hayes 7
Thomas Bryant 2 Steals Ethan Happ 3
N/A Blocks Ethan Happ 3
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Indiana 60 42.9 7-20 11-12 11 28 0 7 15
Wisconsin 65 39.6 4-17 23-31 9 30 5 8 13