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January 31, 2008
Krabbenhoft made a key tip-in to squash a rally, one of his six offensive rebounds, and Michael Flowers limited Indiana's ailing freshman phenom Eric Gordon in No. 13 Wisconsin's 62-49 victory Thursday night.
"I could think of some (funny) lines, but in life there are just some people that come and give a great effort every day, and that's Joe. Sometimes the results can look varied, but the energy is never varied," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said.
D.J. White had his way with Wisconsin (17-3, 7-1 Big Ten) most of the game, finishing with 22 points and 17 rebounds.
But Flowers, who was sick with flu-like symptoms, contained Gordon, who had fallen awkwardly in practice Tuesday and was wearing a padded foam splint on his left wrist.
"It just hurts really bad," said Gordon, who finished with 16 points on 6 of 14 shooting. "They just played (good) defense. At times, I had to use my right hand. I just got it going and got used to it at the end of the game."
Trevon Hughes scored 16 points and Marcuys Landry added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Wisconsin, which led by as many as 20 with just under 13 minutes to go.
That's when Indiana (17-3, 6-1) made its move.
After a tentative first half, Gordon picked it up with a personal 10-0 run with his dad, Eric Sr., watching intently in the crowd. White added five points of his own on the 17-2 run he capped with a little hook in the paint that made it 48-43 with 7:23 left.
"We made a run, we just weren't able to finish on that run," White said.
The Badgers' defense stiffened, holding the best offensive team in the conference to its lowest scoring output of the season, and they kept getting timely offensive rebounds, mainly from Krabbenhoft.
"I love Joe," Landry said of his teammate who calls his parents before each game because he's superstitious. "He's a great player. He gets in there and he fights. He doesn't back down from anything."
Krabbenhoft, who finished with 12 rebounds, also tipped in a shot with 3:55 left to give Wisconsin a 53-45 lead.
"It seemed like every time we had a chance to get the lead down to six or five, we couldn't finish," Sampson said.
Said Krabbenhoft: "All my teammates were mad at me after that one. They thought I could get my first collegiate dunk."
Instead, Krabbenhoft got the last four offensive rebounds of the game to give the Badgers 15, including one that let Hughes, who was 9-for-10 from the line, hit two to put the game out of reach.
"Good bounces, that's really what it is," Krabbenhoft said. "Sometimes the ball comes my way. My hands aren't even that big."
The Badgers, who improved to 51-2 at home against conference opponents since Ryan took over as coach, jumped on Indiana's mistakes in first half. The Hoosiers committed 11 turnovers, including three by White.
Both teams had double-digit winning streaks snapped on Saturday when Purdue beat Wisconsin 60-56 and Connecticut topped Indiana 68-63. Against the Huskies, Gordon struggled without the injury, going 5-of-16 from the field.
Against another bigger opponent, Gordon had an even harder time finding a groove.
At one point in the first half, Wisconsin's pressure defense held Indiana without a point for nearly four minutes as Gordon faltered, losing the ball trying to dribble with his left hand on one possession and flipping the ball out of bounds while trying to put up a layup underneath the basket a few minutes later.
Indiana turned the ball over four straight times during a stretch as the Hoosiers lost their seventh in a row in Madison, a streak dating back to Jan. 25, 1998 when Bob Knight was still at the helm.
The win moved the Badgers into a tie with Michigan State and Purdue for first place in the Big Ten.
"One of the main things this game showed tonight is how we can respond from a tough loss. We could have hung our heads and got down on ourselves for dropping down in the race in the Big Ten," Krabbenhoft said. "We looked at each other in the eye and said we're right back in it."