A new feature to CQ, we look at three moments that changed the game in last night's Indiana basketball matchup. First up: last night's overtime loss in Wisconsin.
1. Thomas Bryant's second foul
Let's start here: there is no such thing as over the back in basketball. If you've ever gone to a high school game in your local community, or to Assembly Hall, and yelled "over the back!" at officials when a guy gets a rebound from behind another player, you were wrong. It's okay, kind of. It's crap that announcers spew. It's an easy way for them to say that the rebounder without the advantageous position made enough contact that a foul should be called. In reality, the foul comes from pushing (either with arms extended or with the lower body) or violating the principle of verticality -- that is that a player owns the space above a legal occupied place on the floor, and contacting him in that space (when he jumps, for example) is a foul.
That's not what happened on Thomas Bryant's second foul last night. With 1:13 left in the first half, Bryant went up for a rebound after a missed Colin Hartman layup. Vitto Brown had a more advantageous position, but was tucked under the rim a little bit, and when Brown went up for the rebound, he had to reach back some and he couldn't grab it clean. Bryant reached up over Brown and also got a hand on the ball.
Bryant got whistled on what could only be described as the non-existent "over the back" foul. This cheap one hurt when he picked up his third with about 14 minutes to go. The result was that Bryant had to play pussyfooting defense for five to six minutes, trying not to pick up his fourth foul. In the five minutes after Bryant picked up his third, Ethan Happ scored six points. And Nigel Hayes dominated the paint. If Bryant can play real defense, not Maui defense, for that stretch, he might make one or two stops.
And one or two stops would have meant everything.
2. Max and Yogi to the rescue
With 2:45 left in the game, a Jordan Hill bucket put the Badgers up three. To that point, Max Bielfeldt had done the following: Foul. Turnover. Block. Missed layup. Turnover. Foul. Rebound. Assist. Foul. Foul.
But Bielfeldt finally came alive with a couple minutes left, and he and Yogi traded assists and layups to make a sandwich with a Yogi three. Bielfeldt's dime to Yogi gave Indiana its final lead of the game, 71-69 with 27 seconds left, and propelled the Hoosiers into overtime.
3. A blown possession
Last night's contest was peak-Troy Williams. For most of the contest, Williams reverted back to his pre-Big Ten levels of control, fumbling with the ball, taking errant shots, etc. But streaks of brilliance kept the Hoosiers alive in some tough stretches.
With 1:30 left in overtime, Williams found himself pushing the ball up the court. But after slicing through the Wisconsin defense, he missed a layup that, on the Troy Williams self-created difficulty scale, was about a 3 or 4.
BUT WAIT! There was hope: Yogi grabbed the offensive rebound and wisely, after finding a tree between himself and the basket, found Nick Zeisloft wide open on the wing for a go-ahead three.
But Zeisloft also reverted back to his pre-Big Ten play, going 0-for-3 from behind the arc last night, including the go-ahead attempt where he was left more wide open than a bad shooter in an old man pickup game on Sunday morning at the Boys & Girl Club.
Hayes made two free throws on the other end and effectively put the game away.