MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Iowa coach Fran McCaffery admits he may have tried to provoke the referees to call him for a technical midway through the second half.
He insists, however, the second one wasn't part of his plan.
Wisconsin's Ben Brust hit four straight free throws after 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.
"What I feel bad about is getting the second one," McCaffery said. "I think the first one, it's safe to say, I kind of went after that a little bit."
McCaffery said he already sensed the momentum moving away from the Hawkeyes (12-3, 1-1 Big Ten) before he was ejected. Brust struggled badly in the first half, missing all three of his shots, but he opened the second half with a 3-pointer. Wisconsin was also 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 also 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 the officials as his assistants tried to restrain him.
Brust then hit all four free throws, and Hayes converted one of two on the personal.
That turned a 41-39 Iowa lead into 44-41 Wisconsin advantage. Hayes then scored on a drive to cap off a 12-2 run.
Wisconsin (15-0, 2-0 Big Ten) matched the best start in school history, tying the 1911-12 and 1913-14 teams.
"I can tell you those were the four hardest free throws I've ever taken in my life," said Brust, who led Wisconsin with 19 points. "They didn't feel that good. But they went in, and that's all that counts."