No. 6 Wisconsin shellshocks newly ranked Iowa by 32
MADISON, Wis. – Jarrod Uthoff had the shot clock expire while leisurely dribbling the basketball. Adam Woodbury air-balled a hook shot. Aaron White was missing free throws.
This was a disjointed Iowa performance on ESPN's Tuesday-night spotlight stage. And there was little margin for error, considering sixth-ranked Wisconsin committed just one turnover. The perfect-storm result: Badgers 82, Hawkeyes 50 before 17,279 fans.
"Forty minutes of just bad basketball," White said after his final trip to the Kohl Center.
It was one to forget.
"We didn't do a great job of executing anything," White said, "or stopping anything."
For those wondering, there has been only one more lopsided loss in Fran McCaffery's five years as Iowa's coach. But that one, 95-61 at Michigan State on Jan. 10, 2012, was during a season of rebuilding. This 32-point shellacking came a day after the Hawkeyes jumped into The Associated Press' Top 25 for the first time since March.
"We had an opportunity tonight," McCaffery said. "And we didn't take advantage of it."
Sam Dekker scored 17 points and the Badgers recorded 16 assists and nine 3-pointers in moving into a first-place tie in the Big Ten Conference. In the process, they handed the Hawkeyes their first true road loss of the season. Wins at North Carolina, Ohio State and Minnesota led Iowa to a No. 25 ranking.
But Tuesday's performance ensures a quick exit.
The first half was so strange that lightly used freshman Dom Uhl led the team in shots, and Iowa's only 3-point make in seven attempts came when Uthoff swished a running half-court shot at the buzzer that cut Wisconsin's lead to 35-17.
"Coach was upset we weren't getting second shots," White said. "But at the same time, people were shooting shots that we weren't really expecting them to shoot, so there was nobody in the paint to get the rebound.
"It was just a bad night, all around. From me on down, we've got to hold ourselves accountable. From one to 15, we didn't have it tonight."
Uthoff was booed every time he touched the basketball in his second trip to Madison as a Hawkeye. The Cedar Rapids native and Wisconsin transfer scored a team-high 12 points Tuesday.
While Wisconsin improved to 17-2 overall, 5-1 in the Big Ten to even things up with Maryland, it's probably best for Iowa to scrub this one from the memory bank. And remember this: Through six pretty tough Big Ten games, Iowa players boarded a bus knowing they're still 4-2 in the league (and 13-6 overall).
The grind's next stop: Saturday at Purdue.
"The old saying, never get too high, never get too low is perfect for an example like this," White said. "We've got to put it in the back of our heads and get ready for a tough team on the road again."