MADISON, Wis. – Ben Brust said they were the hardest free throws he has taken. Regardless of how badly they felt coming off his hand, they all went in.
Brust made four straight free throws after Iowa coach Fran McCaffery was hit with back-to-back technical fouls, helping turn momentum in Wisconsin’s favor as the No. 4 Badgers came back to beat the No. 22 Hawkeyes 75-71 Sunday night.
Brust struggled in the first half, missing all three of his shots. But he rebounded in the second half, scoring 19 points to lead the Badgers and making all six of his free throws.
Wisconsin (15-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten Conference) matched the best start in school history, tying the 1911-12 and 1913-14 teams.
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“I can tell you those were the four hardest free throws I’ve ever taken in my life,” Brust said. “They didn’t feel that good. But they went in, and that’s all that counts.”
McCaffery said he already sensed the momentum moving away from the Hawkeyes (12-3, 1-1) before he was ejected. Brust opened the half with a three-pointer, and Wisconsin was chipping away after trailing 35-24 at half, only the second time the Badgers have been behind at the break all season.
The game was physical at times, drawing loud protests from both coaches. But McCaffery boiled over after a foul was called on Gabriel Olaseni that sent Nigel Hayes to the line. The back-to-back technicals led to his ejection with 12 minutes to play, and he continued to confront officials as his assistants tried to restrain him.
Brust made all four free throws, and Hayes converted one of two on the personal foul.
That turned a 41-39 Iowa lead into 44-41 Wisconsin advantage.
Hayes scored on a drive to cap a 12-2 run.
McCaffery declined to detail what he said to officials or what his issue was with the officiating, saying he was unable to do so.
“What I feel bad about is getting the second one,” McCaffery said of the technicals. “I think the first one, it’s safe to say, I kind of went after that a little bit.”
Roy Marble led Iowa with 27 points.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan downplayed the significance of McCaffery’s ejection on momentum, saying he has seen teams respond to similar situations by regrouping and winning.
Other Top 10 men
At No. 8 Wichita St. 67, Northern Iowa 53
Fred VanVleet scored a season-high 22 points to lead the Shockers (15-0, 2-0 Missouri Valley) past the Panthers (7-7, 1-1).
Cleanthony Early had 18 points for Wichita State, which established a school record for consecutive victories and extended the best start in school history.
Deon Mitchell scored 16 points for Northern Iowa.
• Xavier Thames scored 16 points as No. 21 San Diego State won 61-57 at 16th-ranked Kansas, ending the Jayhawks’ nonconference winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse at 68 games.
• Top-five women’s teams had a rather easy time of it.
Second-ranked Notre Dame, in its Atlantic Coast Conference debut, defeated Clemson 71-51; No. 3 Duke beat Georgia Tech 64-47, the 36th consecutive time it has defeated the Yellow Jackets; and Ariel Massengale scored a career-high 28 points to lead fifth-ranked Tennessee past No. 19 Georgia 85-70.