The Iowa Hawkeyes (7-3, 0-1) lost to the WIsconsin Badgers (8-2, 2-0) in the highest scoring football game between these two tonight, 78-75. The previous high was a 45-28 Iowa win in 1975.
Patrick McCaffery led the game with 24 points, 19 in second half and overtime, to go along with seven rebounds.
The bad news got worse pregame as Kris Murray was seen walking with crutches and Ahron Ulis was announced questionable with a hip contusion, thrusting Dasonte Bowen into his first start of his young career. The hot start the Hawkeyes had last game couldn’t be replicated, as Steven Crowl hit a couple baskets to get it rolling for the Badgers and Iowa couldn’t score until a Connor McCaffery three after over five minutes had elapsed.
Iowa’s offensive woes continued through much of the first half, as they settled for three time and again with 15 of their 27 shots coming from deep. They made just four and were 37% from the field overall. A bright spot was an 8-2 run to close the half as Fran McCaffery was able to roll out his starters while four Badgers, including three starters, were on the bench with two fouls.
With a M*A*S*H squad, Fran went deep in the bench, including seven first half minutes from Carter Kingsbury. He acquitted himself well, sinking a three, and being pretty good overall.
The second half was a story of Iowa not being able to put the game away. They had leads of six three separate times but could never get the game out of reach for Wisconsin.
The first instance featured Pat doing his thing early in the second half, as he scored eight of Iowa’s first 10 points. That seems to be the deal with him, and no shame in it, to find something at halftime and be the guy Iowa can lean on early in the second half.
The next instance was sparked by an insane pass-catch from Connor McCaffery to Tony Perkins. It was a quintessential Connor game as he seemed to find the right guy at the right time (including calling his own number). He finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
AND-1️⃣ @Saucy___T x @IowaHoops pic.twitter.com/y3GxUDlDeo— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) December 12, 2022
The and-one spurred a seven-point Perkins spurt in what seemed to turn the tide for him. But Fran got too cute with a lineup trying to steal minutes to get Iowa to the under-eight timeout. Kingsbury was back and joined on the court by Payton Sandfort who had another game to forget, Josh Dix, Perkins, and Connor. Iowa flubbed it by not calling a timeout or trying to get a foul (more on that later) once it got to 7:59. Wisconsin recognized it and finished off a 9-0 run to gain a 51-48 lead with 6:39 left.
THE MORAL: BURY WISCONSIN WHILE YOU CAN OR ELSE YOU WILL LOSE A GAME THEY ARE INCREDIBLE AT PLAYING
After a Connor layup coming out of the timeout, Iowa didn’t have another basket for another five minute stretch. Filip Rebrača added a couple free throws but Wisconsin got stretched the lead to 60-52 with 2:13 left. Part of the reason it got stretched? Fran was FED UP with the refereeing, which was suspect all night.
We got Angry Fran right now. pic.twitter.com/vsQ7Fl9iGk— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 12, 2022
It drew the ire of Robbie Hummel multiple times and, by my count, every instance that happened went against Iowa. It’s the way it goes. But Fran’s first explosion in a good long while led to Connor Essegian free throws.
Iowa used some late-game heroics by the McCafferies & Perkins to send it to OT. Connor had an and-one while Perkins added a layup/steal/assist to Patrick for a three to tie it up at 60-60. If karma actually existed, Wisconsin would have found a way to lose in regulation because they called a timeout despite a mismatch between Chucky Hepburn and Dasonte Bowen existing. A pushoff of Hepburn on Perkins went uncalled and his shot bounced off the rim.
Pat’s strong play continued in overtime until it didn’t - he had 8 in three-plus minutes - but really, the defense was the story in the final frame. Wisconsin made all six of their baskets and got the lead for good on a Steven Crowl hook over Connor as time was dwindling. Was Connor trying to foul there? Probably. Did they call it? No.
Turnovers from Patrick & Perkins down the stretch kept Iowa from a chance to retake the lead. Iowa’s spacing is absolutely shot without Murray - 7/27 from deep - and despite fighting till the game was won (by Wisconsin), they could not come away with the W.
Good for Wisconsin.
Screw those guys.