When UW assistant coach Howard Moore scouted Indiana for the only regular season matchup between the Badgers and the Hoosiers, Moore saw two different teams.
There was the Indiana team that went 12-2 to start the season, a run that included a 23-point blowout win over Marquette and a close win against Louisville. Then there was the Indiana team that went 1-12 since that point, with the only win being an overtime victory in East Lansing over Michigan State.
“They’re very capable,” Moore said. “Some would say they’re probably due. So you have to do whatever you can to not be the due date for them.”
The 19th ranked Badgers ended up being exactly that after freshman Romeo Langford made a shot with 0.8 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Hoosiers a 75-73 win at Assembly Hall.
While Indiana (14-14, 5-12 B1G) deserves some credit for winning the game, the Badgers (19-9, 11-6 B1G) were left kicking themselves afterward, a common refrain after each of their nine losses this season.
Senior Ethan Happ had 23 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out for UW. But the Badgers couldn’t survive poor shooting nights from three of their starters: D’Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison, and Nate Reuvers were a combined 6 of 31 from the field.
Wisconsin shot 6 of 22 from 3-point range and worse yet, missed 12 of 25 free throw attempts.
“Especially in crunch time like that, you need to knock them down,” Happ said. “We make those, it’s a different ball game. But there are plenty of opportunities on both ends of the floor that we didn’t take advantage of down the stretch.”
The turning point of the game was with 5:09 remaining in regulation, the Badgers up 54-52 with the ball, but then the Hoosiers reclaimed the lead when Ethan Happ was called for a controversial flagrant-1 foul. After a missed jumper by Langford, Happ inadvertently elbowed Juwan Morgan in the head while the two went for the rebound.
The play happened right in front of official Ron Kueneman and it was so flagrant he didn’t even think it was worthy of a common foul, but officials stopped play with Morgan on the ground and went to replay monitors. After a long delay, they decided to call a flagrant on Happ. Langford made both free throws in place of Morgan, and Davis ended the possession with a free throw to give Indiana a 55-54 lead.
“I even talked to Juwan after the game, and he knew it wasn’t intentional,” Happ said. “From my perspective, my back was completely turned and I just spun with my arms up. So it was frustrating to give them two free throws.”
Tonight was the first double overtime game for the Badgers since 2013. The double overtime win over Iowa was the first of three straight overtime games that season. It’s been a crazy stretch, but I don’t think I’ve seen a Big 10 season with so many down-to-the-wire finishes. And I don’t need replay to confirm it.