No. 20 Wisconsin falls in OT, 58-53 at Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Eight minutes and 48 seconds without scoring.
Eleven minutes and one second without making a basket.
When Wisconsin’s third straight overtime game ended in defeat for the first time, the Badgers had an unsightly series of bad possessions to blame.
Andre Hollins hit the go-ahead 3-pointer midway through overtime to finish with 21 points and lead Minnesota to a 58-53 victory over No. 20 Wisconsin on Thursday night.
From Ben Brust’s jumper with 6:11 left in regulation until Jared Berggren’s putback with 10 seconds remaining in the extra period, the Badgers didn’t hit a shot — making only four free throws in that stretch.
“The intensity ratchets up,” Berggren said. “They increased their pressure defensively. They got the crowd into it. We probably got a little bit tentative.”
Hollins went 4 for 4 from the free throw line over the final 18 seconds of overtime to seal it for the Gophers (18-7, 6-6 Big Ten). Sam Dekker scored 14 points and Brust added 11 points for the Badgers. They were 7 for 28 from 3-point range, negating 18 offensive rebounds.
Ryan Evans missed all five free throws he took in that decisive scoreless drought, dropping his season free throw percentage to 40.3
“You knew it was going to get us one game. Hopefully not two. What can you say?” coach Bo Ryan said.
Hollins hit his big shot with 3:38 remaining to give the Gophers a 52-49 lead. Trevor Mbakwe, who grabbed two huge rebounds in the closing minutes, tacked on two free throws to stretch the lead to five with 1:32 left.
The game was tied at 43 with just inside 8 minutes left in regulation, but the Badgers couldn’t make much work after that.
Senior Mike Bruesewitz, playing in his home state for the final time, had a hand in the collapse, too. He missed a long 3-pointer with the Badgers leading 49-47 but drew a charge against Austin Hollins with 22.6 seconds left on the other end to get the ball back.
On the inbounds play, however, he moved his feet and was called for a violation.
“I’ve been in that position a hundred times, if not more,” Bruesewitz said. “They called it, and that was the game.”
The Gophers regained possession when Joe Coleman made both free throws with 17.4 seconds to tie it, and Traevon Jackson’s runner in the lane bricked off the back of the trim.
“That’s a tough turnover,” Ryan said. “But we still had some other chances.”
The Badgers were brimming with momentum, after beating then-No. 3 Michigan last weekend when Brust made a half-court shot to tie the game at the end of regulation. That came on the heels of the double-overtime win over Iowa. And not that long ago, they went to Indiana and came away with a five-point victory.
Cracking The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since mid-November, Wisconsin was in position to keep moving up in the conference stqandings and sweep rival Minnesota for the second straight season.
The Gophers weren’t ahead until 13:48 remained in the game, when Andre Hollins made two free throws for a 35-33 lead. Two minutes later, Mbakwe spun out of the post and threw down a baseline dunk to make it 37-35, igniting the home crowd. For the first time in weeks, the Gophers appeared to be playing with confidence when they had the ball.
The Badgers only had themselves to blame for that, after failing to break the game open early.
The Gophers missed 12 of their first 14 shots, and the two makes were dunks. They went nearly 6½ minutes without scoring until Austin Hollins found a crease and sank a pull-up jumper in the lane to cut the lead to 12-6. Mbakwe was all but taken out of the offense, hounded by Jared Berggren and the Badgers’ lane-clogging defense. Mbakwe was called for traveling once and three seconds in the lane to end another possession.
The Gophers guarded well enough themselves to stay in the game, though. Without any room to cut or drive, the ability to hit those outside shots became even more paramount. Bruesewitz, Jackson and Brust each made 3-pointers before halftime, but the Badgers missed 10.
On the other end, Austin Hollins sank one for the Gophers, and Andre Hollins hit two, none more important than his stutter-step launch from the top of the key with 8 seconds left that brought Minnesota within 24-22.
About a minute before that, Austin Hollins soared into the lane to pull down a rebound of Joe Coleman’s miss with one hand, then flip his put-back in off the glass to cut the lead to five.