In 114 seasons, Indiana University had never lost 13 straight games to one opponent in men’s basketball.
It still hasn’t happened.
The Hoosiers rallied from a second-half double-digit deficit to defeat No. 3-ranked Wisconsin 75-72 Tuesday night, snapping a 12-game losing streak in the series against the Badgers.
The win also ended the Badgers’ best season start ever; broke Wisconsin’s five-game winning streak at Assembly Hall, the longest by any opponent ever at the arena; and ended IU’s five-game losing streak against ranked teams dating back to last season’s loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament.
“If we have guys committed to the gameplan, we’ll win games,” IU’s Will Sheehey said.
For a series that’s been marked by Wisconsin’s defensive efficiency, it was the offense that set the tone early. The Badgers (16-1, 3-1 Big Ten) hit their first seven shots while the Hoosiers started 4 for 4 from the field.
The score was 11-10 Wisconsin before the game’s first miss, a Yogi Ferrell layup that started an 0-for-6 run by the Hoosiers (12-5, 2-2). That allowed Wisconsin to extend its lead to 18-10.
But the Hoosiers answered with an 8-0 run to tie the game, with freshman Stanford Robinson starting and ending the run with layups. His miss after a Sheehey steal led to a Josh Gasser layup to put Wisconsin ahead.
IU had a chance to take the lead going into halftime after forcing an offensive foul with 10 seconds to play. But Ferrell’s shot fell short, and the Badgers went into the break up 35-34.
Traevon Jackson, limited to eight minutes and five points in the first half because of two fouls, took over in the second half for Wisconsin. He scored the first nine points of the second half for the Badgers and helped Wisconsin build a 52-42 lead with 13:28 to play.
“We let Jackson get loose, and then we started settling for jumpers,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said of IU’s falling behind 10 points.
The Hoosiers answered again, this time with a 12-0 run to take their first lead since the 17:03 mark of the first half.
Wisconsin battled back, tying the game for the last time on Jackson’s layup with 3:09 to play.
That made the score 65-65, but Ferrell answered with a 3-pointer — his only made 3 among 8 attempts — and IU didn’t relinquish the lead again.
“If I’m only going to make one, I’m glad it was that one,” Ferrell said.
Wisconsin wasn’t out of it yet. After Robinson made 1 of 2 free throws to put IU ahead 71-67, Frank Kaminsky answered with a 3-point play at the other end. Robinson and Kaminsky exchanged baskets, with Kaminsky putting back a missed 3-pointer by Gasser.
Ferrell hit two free throws with 18 seconds left for the final margin. Jackson and Ben Brust missed 3-pointers in the final seconds in trying to tie the game.
Ferrell led the Hoosiers with 25 points. Sheehey and Robinson scored 13 each and Noah Vonleh had 10 points.
Jackson scored 21 points to lead the Badgers, who also got 13 points from Brust, 11 each from Kaminsky and Gasser and 10 from Dekker.
Wisconsin’s 12 straight wins in the series was tied with Purdue (1909-14) for the longest ever against IU.