logo
Tweet

Wisconsin knew it wasn't going to be easy, having lost their last 3 at Williams Arena, but they sure made it more difficult than it had to be as they took down Minnesota for the first time since 2008 with a 68-61 overtime victory.  

A drought of 6 or more minutes in each half nearly cost Wisconsin as they let Minnesota back into the game before snapping out if it in the overtime period to bring their Big Ten road record to 5-1 on the season.

The win moves the Badgers to 8-4 in conference (19-6 overall) and ties them with Michigan for 3rd place in the conference.  Minnesota dropped to 5-7 in the Big Ten and 17-8 overall. 

It sure wasn't easy, but senior and Minnesota native Jordan Taylor wouldn't let Wisconsin lose his last game at The Barn.  He lead all scorers with 27 points and amazingly had no assists for the game as they chose to let him shoot.  Joining Taylor in double figures was junior forward Ryan Evans, who chipped in a double double, scoring 17 points and 11 rebounds.  He also added 3 assists in the win.  

Minnesota was lead by freshman guard Andre (not Austin) Hollins' 20 points as he went nuts in the 2nd half to give the Gophers the spark they needed to comeback to tie the game up and keep it close in overtime.  Rodney Williams added 16 points as well in the losing effort.

Don't let the overtime and close score fool you, the Badgers had plenty of chances to take this game completely over starting early in the 1st half as Wisconsin hit it early and often from deep, building a 13-6 lead over the Gophers.  

At that point it looked like it could be lights out early for the Gophers but an 0 for 6 effort from the field over a 6 plus minute stretch coupled by a 10-1 run by Minnesota saw them climb back and gain a 16-14 lead.  That lead didn't last long as Jordan Taylor hit one of his 4 three pointers in the 1st half to give Wisconsin the lead at 17-16.  

From there Wisconsin went on a 10-4 run of it's own to build another seven point lead at 27-20 and went into the half leading Minnesota by eight at 32-24.

Taylor had 14 of his 27 points in the 1st half to lead all scorers and was a perfect 4 for 4 from beyond the arc.  Evans wasn't too far behind with 7 points, tied with Rodney Williams of Minnesota for 2nd most points by any player in the half.  

Unlike past games it wasn't the 3 pointer that kep the Wisconsin offense from exploding the lead, it was the rest of the shooting that hurt them as they went only 11-25 from the field, yet went 7-11 from beyond the arc in the half.

The three point shooting wasn't all that kept Wisconsin in front for the 1st half as they held the Gophers to just 9 of 22 shooting for the half (40.9%) and just 1 of 5 from beyond the arc.  Wisconsin also was only down 13-15 in the rebounding battle.  

The Badgers used a combination of good shooting and amazing hustle on the defensive end to start off the 2nd half of the game, building a double digit lead that ballooned to a game high 13 points at 49-36 after a pair of free throws by Ryan Evans with just 9:16 left in the game.  After a three pointer by Andre Hollins and the two teams trading field goals it stood at a ten point, 51-41, lead for the Badgers with just 7:43 left in the half.  

Everything looked good for a Wisocnsin route of the Gophers and a case of just what the doctor ordered after a loss to Ohio State over the weekend, but Minnesota and the shooting gods had other ideas.  

The Badgers would fail to make another basket let alone a free throw the rest of the half as the Gophers came raring back behind a huge effort from the freshman Andre Hollins.  Thankfully the Badgers defense didn't totally abandon them as they forced two very tough shots in the final moments of regulation to fore overtime.  

In overtime it was the free throw show for the Badgers as they finally got on the board for the first time in just shy of 9 minutes of game time on a pair of free throws from Josh Gasser to make it 53-51 Wisconsin. Less than a minute later they got their first field goal in over 9 minutes on a Ryan Evans jumper that made it 55-51 with just over 3 minutes left in overtime. 

Those two events woke up the Badgers big time down the stretch of overtime as they went on a 6-0 run to start the OT and at that point it was a foul fest from Minnesota and Wisconsin couldn't miss in the extra period, going 15-17 from the free throw line in overtime alone.  

For the game the Badgers only shot 35.8% from the field and 39.1% from beyond the arc, but with the 15-17 performance in OT they managed to eek out a win going 21-25 for the game from the charity stripe and heading back to Madison with a hard fought win the Border Battle.  

Up next for Wisconsin is a huge road test as they travel to East Lansing on the 16th to take on Mighigan State.  That game is set for a 6pm CT tip and will be shown on ESPN or ESPN2 which should be announced soon.