Second-half fouls pile up on Wisconsin in title game loss
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) No team in the country was better this season at avoiding fouls than Wisconsin, and in the first half of the national title game against Duke the Badgers were playing as clean as ever.
But after getting whistled for two fouls in the first half, Wisconsin got called for 13 in the second, more than its per game average of 12.7.
Duke played a physical game on both ends to beat the Badgers 68-63 to win the national championship on Monday night.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan tried to avoid going off on the officials after the game, though at one point in the second half, he called a timeout to give them a piece of his mind.
''It was a situation where you just have to be able to handle all the hands and the checking,'' Ryan said in postgame interview with CBS. ''There was more body contact in this game than any game we played all year, and I just felt sorry for my guys that all of a sudden a game was like that. I think they are struggling with that a little bit.''
Later asked directly about the officiating, Ryan shied away just a bit.
''You can't say anything about the officiating,'' he said. ''C'mon. Are you trying to set me up?''
He added: ''We practice in our practices where if an offensive player jumps into you, we always call it on the offensive player. It's just what we do. So there were some situations where obviously our guys felt they were in position. I'm sure they felt they were in the rights. Both teams are always going to feel that there's a question or two. So it's just the way the game's played.''
Duke dealt with foul trouble most of the night. Star freshman Jahlil Okafor finished the game with four fouls and played only 22 minutes. Justise Winslow also was limited and finished with four fouls.
Overall, though, Wisconsin shot only 10 free throws, making six. Duke went 16 for 20, 12 for 16 at the line.
''They got to the line and scored with the clock stopped,'' Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker said. ''It's all they did in the second half was make free throws. You can't come back if they're scoring with the clock stopped.''
Wisconsin's offense has been the most efficient in the country this season in points per possession, but the Badgers sputtered down the stretch, bouncing off the Blue Devils. And on defense, they just couldn't stop the whistles.
''We are a team with a lot of pride in what we do and we don't want to blame outside factors or other things,'' Nigel Hayes said. ''I guess we just got a little too much contact on a lot of their drivers. We just maybe did a poor job of sliding our feet.''