INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Luka Garza scored 24 points, Joe Wieskamp made two key baskets late and No. 5 Iowa fended off Wisconsin 62-57 in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday night.
The third-seeded Hawkeyes (21-7) rallied from a six-point halftime deficit behind Garza. Their all-time leading scorer dominated inside, making 10 of 15 field goals and 4 of 5 free throws.
Iowa advanced to face third-ranked Illinois in Saturday’s semifinals.
The game was tied at 52 when Wieskamp maneuvered into the paint to take advantage of a size mismatch with close-range baskets on consecutive possessions, the latter for a 56-52 lead with 2:35 remaining. He finished with 10 points. Iowa had a 38-20 edge in points in the paint.
The sixth-seeded Badgers (17-12), who entered the tournament having lost five of six, never recovered. Wisconsin dropped another close game because it couldn’t make clutch shots.
D’Mitrik Trice led Wisconsin with 19 points, but with the Badgers trailing by four in the final minute, he was unable to get the ball inbounds in 5 seconds, sealing the outcome.
The Hawkeyes swept the season series from the Badgers, including a 77-73 win five days ago in Iowa City.
Wisconsin finished the first half with a 7-2 run to take a 32-26 lead, but Iowa responded with a 7-0 run early in the second half to trim the deficit to one. The teams traded the lead five times in the final 11 minutes.
Wisconsin: The Badgers hoped to show something in this tournament to improve their chances of playing in the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Almost blowing an 18-point lead in a one-point win over Penn State on Thursday was the highlight of the weekend.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes were assured of an NCAA Tournament berth when they arrived in Indianapolis and now have a chance to improve their seeding. … Iowa’s 14 regular-season conference wins were its most since 1987.
Wisconsin: Awaits its postseason assignment.
Iowa: Takes on Illinois in the semifinals.