Wisconsin had 16 second-chance points and 15 offensive rebounds in a 74-63 win over Iowa Saturday.
In the first half, it seemed Iowa couldn’t buy a rebound on its own end. Perhaps it was the height of Wisconsin, which only played one player under 6-4. Perhaps they were simply outmatched. Perhaps there was another reason.
However, in Iowa’s 74-63 loss to No. 5 Wisconsin on Jan. 31, it was clear Iowa couldn’t stop its opponent from cleaning up the offensive glass — Wisconsin grabbed 15 offensive boards.
“I think it’s just effort. We should try to block out guys a little harder than we did, myself included,” said Gabe Olaseni, who finished with 5 rebounds, 2 of which were defensive. “I think they just wanted it a little more than us; they kind of went around us, went through us. I think that’s on us.”
Of course, it wasn’t the only reason Iowa dropped its third-straight game and fell to 13-8 (4-4 Big Ten), but Olaseni’s words carry a considerable amount of weight.
Perhaps the second-largest reason Iowa lost was the disappearance of the offense in the second half. Iowa shot more than 64 percent from the floor before the break but couldn’t sustain that and shot 30.4 percent after the intermission.
The Hawkeyes only had two players finish in double figures — Aaron White and Gabe Olaseni scored 15 and 12 apiece on a combined 9-of-16 shooting. The Hawkeyes missed contributions from Jarrod Uthoff, who did finish with 9 points, but only made 3-of-9 shots.
There was a stretch in the first half when the Hawkeyes and Badgers traded baskets, and Iowa looked strong offensively but didn’t do anything special on defense. Sure, Iowa turned in some good possessions and made some stops, but there were still times when it was unable to turn in a full possession and the Badgers scored.
If there’s a play that sticks out and put the dagger in Iowa, it came with 8:47 left in the game. With his team down 8 and with some momentum, Josh Oglesby played strong defense on Wisconsin’s Josh Gasser as the shot clock ticked below five seconds.
But the Badger senior somehow managed to get off a shot, which swished through the net and took the life out of both Iowa and a sold-out crowd in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“In a 3-point shooting drill, we have from almost that exact spot,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “It was from that left wing, free-throw line extended and I can’t tell you how many in a row he hit from there either yesterday or the day before. That’s something that he works on.
“And boy, was it huge.”
And then there was Wisconsin simply being better team; that’s also part of it. The Badgers earned their 19th win of the year to only 2 losses and looked exactly like the national-title contender they are.
But in a game in which Iowa shot so well at first and looked as though it could make it a close game, it’s hard not to wonder what could’ve been had the Hawkeyes taken some of those boards away from Wisconsin and stopped just a few second-chance points that benefited the Badgers.
“Second chance, we outscore them by 9; it’s an 11-point final,” Ryan said. “Pretty huge. I thought we did a real good job getting in position to get some second chances. Didn’t happen by accident.”
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