BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- Jared Jeffries' numerous injuries ultimately may cost Indiana a shot at the Big Ten Conference title.
Charlie Wills scored 17 points as Wisconsin snapped a 22-game losing streak at Assembly Hall by holding on for a 64-63 Big Ten victory over the Hoosiers, who played without their leading scorer.
Jeffries missed three days of practice last week with a bruised thigh but scored 11 points in a 77-62 victory over Louisville on Saturday. The 6-9 sophomore forward, who is averaging 16.9 points, also had a swollen ankle from favoring his thigh injury and the ankle problem officially sidelined him Wednesday.
"Without Jeffries, they are a different team," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "Our guys answered the challenge." Indiana (16-8, 8-3 Big Ten) dropped into a first-place tie with Ohio State.
Kirk Penney's 3-pointer gave Wisconsin (15-11, 8-5) a 64-61 lead with 2:17 left. The Hoosiers climbed within a point on Dane Fife's basket 19 seconds later.
Indiana guard Tom Coverdale missed a jumper with 83 seconds left but the Badgers missed a pair of 1-and-1 opportunities. Fife missed a jumper and Jeffrey Newton appeared to get fouled on a follow shot but a jump ball was called and the Hoosiers retained possession with 1.9 seconds left.
Coverdale was open from 24 feet away on the left side but badly misfired his 3-point attempt as the jubilant Badgers dashed off the court.
Indiana coach Mike Davis refused to comment on the no-call on Newton's second-chance effort.
Coincidentally, the last time that Wisconsin won here was when its first-year coach, Ryan, was an assistant with the Badgers on February 24, 1977.
"It has nothing to do with that," he said. "It has to do with the guys on this team." Freshman Devin Harris made 7-of-10 shots for 16 points and reserve Mike Wilkinson added 13. Wills, an Indiana native, made 7-of-9 shots and added four assists.
"We just wanted to come in and win," Wills said. "It's so hard to win a won on the road in the Big Ten." The Badgers came out and shot 59 percent in the first half as they milked the shot clock and spread the floor. Harris and Wills combined for 27 points in the first 20 minutes as Wisconsin took a 40-35 lead into the lokcer room.
"We were committed to spreading them out offensively," Ryan said. "I just like the way our guys kept their composure down the stretch." Indiana came alive in the second half and took its first lead of the second half on Coverdale's basket with 12 1/2 minutes remaining. A 3-pointer by Fife pulled the Hoosiers into a 61-61 tie with 3:21 left.
Coverdale scored 17 points and Jarrod Odle collected 12 and 11 rebounds for Indiana, which managed to shoot 49 percent (25-of-51). The Hoosiers limited the Badgers to 10 field goals in the second half but still fell short.
Indiana fell to 8-1 at home.
"Wisconsin came in and played a great basketball game tonight," Davis said. "I thought we played hard at times but this was a different type of team we were playing with their posting guards." The loss was particularly damaging because Indiana has just two home games left among its remaining five contests. The Hoosiers travel to Michigan on Sunday and still have games at Michigan State and Illinois looming.
"We are still in first place and we need to regroup because we go on the road to face Michigan on Sunday," Davis said.