Minnesota 54, No. 12 Wisconsin 49
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Minnesota beat Wisconsin at its own game.
The Golden Gophers used hustle, smart shooting and dominant defense to beat No. 12 Wisconsin 54-49 Saturday night, the Badgers’ first loss under interim coach Brad Soderberg..
Shane Schilling scored 12 points and Michael Bauer added 11 in the win.
``I don’t care if you call them ugly,″ said Gophers coach Dan Monson. ``It would be a great compliment to us if people said we won like Wisconsin does. That was the prettiest 54-to-49 game I’ve seen in a while.″
Soderberg took over for the retired Dick Bennett on Nov. 30 and is now 8-1. The Badgers missed their chance to win 11 straight for the first time since 1993-94.
Minnesota exploited the Badgers’ only defensive weakness by shooting 8-for-17 from 3-point range. Wisconsin entered the game ranked next-to-last in the conference in defense against the 3-pointer.
``There’s no way you’re getting to the basket on the dribble against them,″ Schilling said. ``They’re very sound on defense.″
Soderberg was miffed about Minnesota’s ability to grab timely rebounds. Ryan Wildenborg grabbed nine boards.
``Although the statistics were fairly even, it was my feeling that they dominated us on the glass,″ Soderberg said. ``They out-toughed us late in the game.″
Wisconsin, which trailed by 12 points with less than five minutes left, cut the Gophers’ lead to three on Roy Boone’s 3-pointer with 53.3 seconds remaining.
That was the only basket for Boone, the Badgers’ leading scorer.
``I want to try to help us solve this offensive riddle,″ Soderberg said. ``I can’t put my finger on it.″
The Gophers went on a 13-3 run in a seven-minute span in the second half. Bauer’s 3-pointer capped the spurt with 5:02 left and gave Minnesota a 44-32 lead.
Wisconsin’s primary long-range shooting threat, Kirk Penney, couldn’t get open and finished with four points on two layups. Maurice Linton, making his first start, led the Badgers with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
``There’s no secret to offense,″ said the Badgers’ Mark Vershaw, who had eight points. ``It’s guys making shots when they have to.″
The Gophers trailed by one at halftime despite not scoring in the final 8:18 of the first half. The Badgers scored the last 10 points of the half for a 24-23 lead at the break.
J.B. Bickerstaff and Dusty Rychart each had nine points for the Gophers, who have not lost a conference home opener since 1988. Minnesota got its first win over a ranked team this season, and both of their losses have come to ranked teams (Georgetown and Illinois).
``We’re 13-2, and I don’t know if anyone realizes that,″ Monson said.
``With that kind of record, they should have been in the Top 25 before the game,″ he said. ``I hope they finally get the respect they deserve.″