IOWA CITY, Iowa — Matt Gatens scored a career-high 33 points and Iowa beat No. 16 Wisconsin 67-66 on Thursday night for its second consecutive win against a ranked opponent.
It was the second consecutive career-high for Gatens, who had 30 points in Iowa’s win against then No. 18 Indiana on Sunday.
Wisconsin (20-8, 9-6 Big Ten) lost for just the third time in 11 games. The Badgers got within 65-63 on Jordan Taylor’s layup with four seconds left, but Gatens made two free throws to cap his brilliant night for the Hawkeyes (15-13, 7-8).
Taylor’s meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer was the closest the Badgers would get in the second half.
Josh Gasser and Ryan Evans each had 14 points for Wisconsin, which never led and got swept by Iowa in the regular season for the first time since 1994-95.
With Gatens hitting from long range and Taylor saddled with three fouls and Iowa ahead by 13 points with 17:33 left, it looked nearly hopeless for the Badgers early in the second half.
Wisconsin rallied — but didn’t have an answer for Gatens.
|IOWA VS. WISCONSIN|
|Field Goal percentage||48||50|
The Badgers rattled off a 12-2 run, capped when former Iowa commit Ben Brust drilled a three in transition to cut Iowa’s lead to 51-48 with 12:56 to go. But Gatens followed two jumpers with challenged 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to push Iowa back ahead 61-50 with 9:13 to go.
Aaron White added 12 points for Iowa. The Hawkeyes won despite going the final 7:29 without a field goal and allowing the Badgers to keep pulling within a possession in a final minute that was more frantic than necessary.
Iowa pulled off what at the time appeared to be a stunning New Year’s Eve result; beating Wisconsin 72-65 at the Kohl Center for its first victory in Madison since 2000.
It didn’t look so stunning after the first 20 minutes of the rematch.
Iowa came out and scored 16 points in less than five minutes against the nation’s leader in fewest points allowed per game. Gatens hit his first six shots — including four threes to push his school-record to 11 consecutive dating to Sunday’s game — as the Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 35-24.
Melsahn Basabe capped a rousing stretch for Iowa, throwing down a dunk off a through-the-legs pass from Devyn Marble, and White’s slam off another turnover helped put Iowa ahead 43-34 at halftime.
The Hawkeyes were just nine points from topping Wisconsin’s points per game allowed average with a half to go. Not surprisingly, it was by far the most the Badgers had let up in the first half all season.
Gatens’ streak ended at 12 consecutive 3-pointers, and his bid for 13 early in the second half rattled off the rim.
Rob Wilson chipped in 11 points and Brust finished with 10 for Wisconsin.
Taylor finished with just nine points, four assists and four turnovers.