Jon Leuer leads No. 15 Wisconsin past Iowa 67-40

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MADISON, Wis. (AP)—Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon wanted to wave goodbye as winners. For No. 15 Wisconsin, it was even more important for Jon Leuer to show that he’s regaining his touch after returning from a broken wrist.

Fortunately for the Badgers, Iowa played along.

Leuer scored 18 points, Hughes and Bohannon got a standing ovation on Senior Night and Iowa didn’t offer much resistance as Wisconsin cruised to a 67-40 victory Wednesday.

“If I was a director, I couldn’t write a better script than it was tonight,” Hughes said.

Hughes scored 15 points while Bohannon added 11 points and a career-high nine rebounds in the final home game for both of the Badgers’ senior guards.

“Think about two guys going over 1,000 points in the same (season), playing on NCAA tournament teams, conference championship teams, conference tournament champions—and who knows what happens this year?” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “That’s pretty exciting. There are a lot of people who would like to be Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes. I would.”

Wisconsin (22-7, 12-5 Big Ten) turned it into a rout early on, taking control with an 18-0 run midway through the first half.

Aaron Fuller had 14 points for the Hawkeyes (10-20, 4-13), who have lost eight of 10 and will conclude their rough regular season at Minnesota on Sunday.

“We just panicked,” Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said. “And when you panic against Wisconsin, you’re in big trouble.”

Iowa’s 40 points tied a season low, and the Hawkeyes shot 3 for 15 from 3-point range.

Lickliter said the Hawkeyes began rushing their offensive possessions as Wisconsin built its lead, playing right into the Badgers’ hands.

“Coach said, ‘There’s no 18-point shot, so we’ve got to take it one play at a time and try to string them together,”’ Fuller said.

They didn’t.

The Badgers led 36-16 at halftime and Iowa couldn’t catch up, as Leuer continued to assert himself in his best all-around performance since returning from a broken left wrist last month. He was 8 for 9 from the field.

“They’re good without him, and they’re even better with him,” Lickliter said.

After scoring 12 points in the first half, Leuer opened the second with a turnaround jumper, hit another jumper a few minutes later, then came up with an emphatic slam dunk on a pass from Hughes to give Wisconsin a 45-20 lead with 14:36 remaining. Leuer then blocked a layup attempt by Brennan Cougill on the Hawkeyes’ next possession.

“I think each game he’s looked a little bit more comfortable in recognizing game speed and reactions and things like that,” Ryan said.

Wisconsin cruised the rest of the way, finishing the season 16-1 at home and 136-11 overall in home games under Ryan.

Hughes and Bohannon exited the game at the 2:14 mark to a standing ovation from the Kohl Center crowd. The team honored Hughes and Bohannon on the court with a video tribute after the game.

Hughes said he was nervous because it was the first time since a high school state tournament that his mother, Twanna Hutchinson, had seen him play at the Kohl Center.

“We didn’t win that game,” Hughes said. “I didn’t play well.”

Hughes and Bohannon got off to a strong start by combining to score 12 of the Badgers’ first 14 points.

Wisconsin then went on an 18-0 run—including 10 straight points from Leuer, who was playing his fourth game since returning from the injury.

Leuer slammed home an alley-oop pass from Bohannon, then got free for another dunk on the Badgers’ next possession. Leuer showed his shooting range on the Badgers’ next two trips down the court, draining a pair of 3-pointers.

Later in the run, Hughes made perhaps the most impressive play of the night, stealing the ball from John Lickliter, streaking down the court and flipping the ball up to Keaton Nankivil for an alley-oop dunk.

The Badgers held the Hawkeyes scoreless for more than 7 minutes during their run.

Iowa shot a miserable 6 for 21 from the floor and 1 for 9 from 3-point range in the first half. The Hawkeyes also had eight first-half turnovers.

Hughes said the team needed to carry its emotional play into the postseason.

“Emotion did play a role in tonight’s game,” he said. “That’s the kind of energy we’ve got to come out and play with in every game.”

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Iowa
Aaron Fuller Aaron Fuller
6-11,  14 Pts
5 Rebs, 0 Assists
 Wisconsin
Jon Leuer Jon Leuer
8-9,  18 Pts
5 Rebs, 4 Assists

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Wednesday, Mar 3