After-thoughts from Iowa’s 72-66 loss to Wisconsin:
--Iowa didn’t really do anything out of the ordinary in limiting Ethan Happ to just 13 points. Luka Garza, Tyler Cook and Ryan Kriener just did a good job of staying between the Wisconsin star and the basket. The Hawkeyes’ perimeter people doubled down on him at times, especially when he put the ball on the floor and tried to back his man down into the post. The one thing they probably should have done a little more often was to foul him. Happ is still struggling to make free throws — he was only 1 for 4 and is under 50 percent for the season — and there were a few instances late in the game when it would have been wise to just hack him. Garza was kicking himself for not doing so when Happ drove to the basket with a little less than a minute to go and scored to put Wisconsin up by four. Garza had four fouls at the time and said he also was worried about giving Happ a 3-point play opportunity so he didn’t foul him.
--It may not have been the best game of Cook’s college career, but it probably was in the top five. He finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and four assists as he more or less out-Happed Happ. Wisconsin coach Greg Gard quite accurately referred to him as “a load.’’ Cook also drew 11 fouls in the game, giving him 23 in the past two games.
--One Iowa player who was not pleased with his own performance was junior guard Jordan Bohannon, who has admitted he would rather beat Wisconsin than any other Big Ten opponent. He made just 3 of 12 shots from the field and was 0 for 4 inside the 3-point arc. He missed a couple of wide-open 3-point attempts late in the game that would have been huge had he hit them. It also was only the second game of Bohannon’s college career in which he was not credited with an assist. The only other time was in a loss to Virginia in the fifth game of his freshman year. He had assisted in 68 consecutive games since then. In fact, it was only the fifth game in his career in which Bohannon did not have multiple assists.
--Bettendorf’s Nicholas Baer gave the Hawkeyes a much-needed lift at the end of the first half and again during the second half, finishing with eight points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. He also produced probably the best hustle play of the game with 4 minutes, 28 seconds to go. After missing a free throw, he raced to the baseline and rebounded the miss himself, then pitched the ball to Bohannon for an open 3-point try that would have tied the game. It missed.
--The Hawkeyes continued to struggle shooting from 3-point range, making just 6 of 24 shots from long range. That dropped their season percentage to 32.5. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery was asked after the game if he expects this to continue and he had a three-word response: “We’ll be better.’’
--For the seventh consecutive game, Isaiah Moss started but ended up playing 20 minutes or less. In fact, he played a season-low 11 minutes, 32 second and was on the court for only 4:45 in the second half. When the game is on the line in the second half, it’s apparent that McCaffery trusts either Baer or his son, Connor, much more than Moss.