Badgers cruise to victory over Iowa
MADISON, Wis. -- — Johnny Davis had 26 points and nine rebounds and No. 23 Wisconsin defeated Iowa 87-78 on Thursday night in a game that featured two of the nation's top three scorers.
Wisconsin (12-2, 3-1 Big Ten) withstood a 27-point performance from Iowa's Keegan Murray to win its fourth straight and snap the Hawkeyes' four-game winning streak.
Murray entered the night with a Division I-leading 24.5 points per game while Davis was third with 22.3 points per game. Davis was coming off a 37-point, 14-rebound performance in a 74-69 victory Monday at No. 3 Purdue, and Murray had 35 points and eight rebounds the same night in Iowa's 80-75 win over Maryland.
On Thursday, they played to a virtual standoff, but Davis got more help from his teammates. Brad Davison scored 18 points, Tyler Wahl had 16, Steven Crowl had 12 and Chucky Hepburn 11 for Wisconsin, which shot 50%.
Jordan Bohannon and Kris Murray scored 12 each for Iowa (11-4, 1-3), which also got 10 from Patrick McCaffery.
Davis wasted no time picking up right where he'd left off against Purdue. The 6-foot-5 sophomore scored 15 points in the first 12 minutes and had 19 points by halftime as Wisconsin built a 45-32 lead.
But he didn't score at all for nearly the first 8½ minutes of the second half, with Wisconsin's lead holding steady because of other Badgers carrying the load.
Davis heated back up in plenty of time to seal the victory. His first basket of the second half came on a jumper with 11:36 left, which he followed with a dunk on an alley-oop from Jahcobi Neath to extend Wisconsin's lead to 65-48 with 11 minutes remaining.
Murray took a hard fall under the basket with 15:10 left, but he missed only 32 seconds of action before returning to the game. But Wisconsin had Iowa pretty much squared away by then and didn't get the margin back into single digits until 15 seconds remained in the game.
The first-half scoring ended with 8.2 seconds remaining when Davison sank three free throws after officials ruled McCaffrey had fouled him on a 3-point attempt in front of the Hawkeyes' bench.
McCaffery motioned with his legs in an apparent protest that Davison had kicked his leg out in an attempt to draw the foul. Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery, Patrick's father, also voiced his displeasure. But the call stood, enabling Wisconsin to head to the locker room with plenty of momentum.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes missed seven of their first eight 3-point attempts and didn't get their second 3-point basket until 9:19 remained in the game. Iowa also shot 11 of 19 on free-throw attempts and was outrebounded 43-26.
Wisconsin: The Badgers showed no signs of a letdown after their big victory at Purdue and led for the last 38 minutes of the game. Wisconsin's ability to maintain its double-digit lead even when Davis wasn't scoring showed that the Badgers are no one-man show.
Wisconsin already has assured itself of rising at least a few spots when the next Top 25 comes out Monday. If the Badgers win at Maryland this weekend, they should land in the top 15 and could get even higher.
Iowa: Hosts Indiana on Jan. 13.