Hawkeyes fall to Badgers in Big Ten-opener

Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin came down to the wire, but the Hawkeyes couldn’t get the job done.


Megan Nagorzanski

Iowa forward Nicholas Baer intercepts a pass during Iowa’s game against Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on November 30, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Badgers, 72-66.(Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

There was no shortage of tenacity with No. 14 Iowa Friday, but it wasn’t enough to overcome No. 22 Wisconsin.

Iowa (6-1, 0-1 Big Ten) pulled ahead, 61-60, with 3:31 left but only made just 1 of its last 6 field goals which left them just short at 72-66.

While the loss was disappointing, what wasn’t was just how hard Iowa battled throughout the game.

“I was impressed with our fight,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “It wasn’t a thing of beauty, we didn’t make some plays we would’ve like to have made, but I thought we did some really good things.”

Coming into the game, it seemed Iowa would need to key in on Wisconsin’s Preseason All-Big Ten honoree Ethan Happ, who entered the game averaging 18 points per contest.

A combination of Luka Garza and Tyler Cook limited him to just 13 points, including only 4 in the first half.

The problem for the Hawkeyes was everybody else – specifically, the Wisconsin bench that put up 21 points.

“We got a lot of contributions from a variety of guys,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said. “We got it from a different group of guys off the bench. I think they had a lot of confidence that we could get this done.”

For Iowa, it was Cook who led the way for the Hawkeyes, posting a double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Garza complemented Cook nicely down low, as he added 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.

As usual, Nicholas Baer was a force off the bench, contributing 8 points next to 6 rebounds and 3 blocks, as well as several hustle plays that don’t make the stat sheet.

Also wowing the crowd of 15,056 was freshman phenom Joe Wieskamp, who posted 8 points with 8 rebounds, but his highlight moment came late in the game where he blocked a shot, then converted an and-1 3-point play.

That’s something Wieskamp and Hawkeye fans want to see more of moving forward.

“I just went out and made a play,” Wieskamp said. “I got to keep making plays defensively that lead to offense.”

While Cook and Garza played well down low, Iowa’s guards struggled to hit open shots.

Iowa’s starting guards, Jordan Bohannon and Isaiah Moss, combined to shoot just 4-of-17 from the floor which added up to 13 total points.

“We just didn’t make some shots,” Bohannon said. “We had a lot of open shots and I’m pissed at myself because I had so many good looks tonight.”

The road doesn’t get any easier for Iowa after this, as it prepares for a tough road matchup against No. 9 Michigan State on Dec. 3.

“We got to get ready for [Dec. 3],” Bohannon said. “We were right there the entire game – we should’ve had them. [But] as much as we’d like to dwell on this game, we got a find a way to move on and get ready for Michigan State.”