Wed. Final: Badgers 74, Iowa 70 in 2OT
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Jared Berggren has said more than once that Wisconsin's struggles at the free-throw line were contagious. Now he can say the same goes for making them.
The Badgers, who were shooting less than 62 percent from the foul line going into Wednesday night, hit 13 of 14 free throws in two overtime periods to beat Iowa 74-70.
"It's one of those things, you get things rolling a little bit and you realize it's a free throw. It's the easiest shot in basketball," Berggren said. "You realize, don't make it harder than it is."
The Badgers (16-7, 7-3 Big Ten) needed every bit of their performance from the line as they struggled mightily from the field.
Wisconsin started hot, hitting 11 of its first 22 shots en route to a 28-17 lead. From there, the Badgers hit 13 of 49, less than 27 percent. That included just 1 for 9 from the field over both overtime periods.
But Iowa (14-9, 3-7) was no better, hitting 35 percent of its shots for the game and just 4 of 16 in the overtime periods.
"We almost missed 50 shots," Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery said. "We've got to start making some shots. We had some great looks at it."
Wisconsin's only field goal in the two overtime periods was a big one. Freshman Sam Dekker hit a 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining in double overtime as Wisconsin took the lead for good, 67-64.
The Badgers seemed on the verge of closing it out moments later with a 72-68 lead. But Berggren stepped out of bounds on the inbounds play, giving the ball back to the Hawkeyes. White scored and was fouled, but he missed the free throw.
Ryan Evans, who shoots 40 percent from the line, grabbed the rebound, was fouled and converted both attempts to seal the win.
Ben Brust led the Badgers with 18 points, including three key free throws down the stretch in double overtime. Berggren added 16 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks, while Evans had 15 points, shooting 5 of 7 from the line.
Mike Gesell led the Hawkeyes with 14 points and Aaron White added 13.
Iowa had a shot to win the game in regulation, and the Badgers had their opportunity at the end of the first overtime.
But Wisconsin needed a frantic finish just to have that opportunity.
Iowa went on a 13-2 run in the second half as Wisconsin went almost seven minutes with just one field goal, putting the Hawkeyes up 51-42. But Brust ended the drought with a 3-pointer from the corner, and Berggren converted a three-point play on the next possession to get the Badgers back within 51-48.
"That was really gutsy by our guys," said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan.
With the game tied at 58, Iowa's Josh Oglesby had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but his 3-pointer rimmed out.
"From that point on, it was just a grindfest, whoever could get to loose balls, whoever could make the plays," Brust said.
In the first overtime, White's leaner from the elbow was off, and Wisconsin grabbed the rebound, managing to call a timeout in the scrum for the ball with 38.3 seconds left.
Wisconsin held the ball, but Berggren's 3-point attempt was off. Mike Bruesewitz grabbed the loose ball only to miss his 3 as well, and they went to double overtime.
McCaffery relied heavily on his bench with most of his starters struggling.
Devyn Marble, who averages better than 13 points a game, was held to two points on 1 of 10 shooting. Center Adam Woodbury was just 1 of 5 with two points, and neither played more than 20 minutes. Gesell was the only Iowa starter to play more than 32 minutes, while all five Wisconsin starters logged at least 40 minutes.
It was another tough loss for Iowa, which has lost six Big Ten games by nine points or less.
"I want it for them," McCaffery said. "I'm hurting for them."