MADISON, Wis. — Things have gone from bad to grotesque for the Iowa men’s basketball team.
Wisconsin sent senior starters Ethan Happ and Khalil Iverson off in style with a 65-45 pounding of Iowa Thursday night at the Kohl Center.
The Hawkeyes lost a third-straight game for the first time this season and fell to 21-9 overall, 10-9 in the Big Ten. The three losses have been by a total of 54 points.
No. 21 Wisconsin improved to 21-9 and 13-6. It was the Badgers’ first win by 10 points or more since Jan. 29 when they won 62-51 at Nebraska.
Iverson opened the game’s scoring with a dunk and had seven first-half points to share his team-high. Happ, a first-team All-Big Ten player-to-be, had a five-point first half without scoring a basket in his last home game as a Badger. That didn’t hurt his team, which led 31-22 at halftime.
But Happ wanted and got more than that. He had 11 points and six rebounds in the first 7:38 of the second half as his team doubled its halftime advantage. The 6-foot-10 Illinoisan finished with 21 points and 14 boards. Iverson had 11 and 11.
Iowa was saddled with foul trouble the whole game. None of its big men could do anything against Happ at either end of the court. Forward Tyler Cook, the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer last season and this one, was 0 for 6 from the field and scoreless for the first time in his career.
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After shooting just 35.7 percent from the field in last Saturday’s 86-72 home loss to Rutgers, Iowa hit on a paltry 30.5 percent Thursday. No Hawkeye scored more than eight points.
Wisconsin used a 7-0 run to take a 15-11 lead, and was in front the rest of the half. Ten of its first 20 points came as a result of offensive rebounds.
Badger sophomore forward Akeem Ford, who was averaging only 2.4 points in conference games, tallied seven first-half points.
The first half was the lowest-scoring half of the season for the Hawkeyes. Cook missed all five of his shots in the half. The Hawkeyes got just four free throw tries in the half to Wisconsin’s 14.
Happ, who had made but 31 of 82 foul shots in league games, was 11 of 18 from the stripe.
The Hawkeyes were without head coach Fran McCaffery, who served the second game of his two-game suspension for a postgame altercation with a game official last week at Ohio State.
Iowa closes its regular season with a 1 p.m. game at Nebraska Sunday.