Notes: A Stellar Going Away Party

The marquee said senior night and Wisconsin's big-name senior delivered. In a gritty Big Ten home finale, senior Jon Leuer scored a game-high 26 points to lead No.12 Wisconsin to victory.

MADISON - The reality of Senior Day hadn't sank in yet as Jon Leuer talked with the media after Sunday's 76-63 win over Northwestern.

That was about that didn't sink for the UW senior. Leuer did most of the heavy lifting for, scoring 26 points on nine of 14 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Classmate forward Keaton Nankivil added 15 points in 30 minutes.

Like so many classes before them, Wisconsin's seniors sent themselves out with a win, 78-63 over Northwestern. The Badgers finished with a perfect 18-0 home record for the season. In four years, the seniors lost just six games at the Kohl Center.

"When we're at the Kohl Center, we don't plan on losing ever," Leuer said. "This team did that this year. That's one of the goals we had, to always protect the home court. We were able to do that, so check that one off the list."

Arguably Leuer's biggest bucket came with just less than seven minutes remaining. Northwestern had ripped off a 12-4 run to pull within three points at 58-55, and the Badgers hadn't scored in almost five minutes. But Leuer scored a tough bucket in the paint and was fouled to stop the run.

That was indicative of how the senior played in his final home game as a Badger. Leuer shot a season-high 11 free throws, making eight. For the game, Wisconsin outscored Northwestern 22-16 in the paint.

"Some teams play the post differently," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "Some teams play behind and let you catch it … you just have to be able to handle that. I thought our guys did a good job, especially Jon, of scoring in the post."

Up 16 with four minutes gone in the second half, the Badgers looked to be streaking to an easy win. But then Northwestern went on a streak of its own.

Northwestern made four threes as part of a 20-7 run that cut Wisconsin's lead to just three points with just more than seven minutes remaining.

"When you prepare for them, you talk about those runs," Ryan said. "I've seen them do that to other teams, and the other team gets down, gets a little disjointed. You just have to be ready to not concede."

The Badgers did not concede. Leuer scored his basket in the lane, and UW followed with a 10 to four run to put the game out of reach.

Seniority

All six Wisconsin seniors saw playing time as another Wisconsin senior class went out with a win. Wisconsin hasn't lost a Senior Day game under Bo Ryan.

Along with Leuer's 26 and Nankivil's 15, Tim Jarmusz scored six and Wquinton Smith scored three. Brett Valentyn and J.P. Gavinski played but didn't score.

The six seniors and their families participated in a pre-game ceremony, then stayed on the court for a post-game video presentation.

"It's a pretty incredible feeling, the thanks you want to give people," Nankivil said. "It doesn't do it justice, that video. I wish I could do a 20-minute video with everything I want to say."

Ankle OK

Jordan Taylor rolled his ankle midway through the second half and seemed to be in some discomfort for a while afterward. After the game, Taylor shrugged off the injury.

"It's fine. Nothing serious."

Quick notes

- Just four Northwestern players scored. Drew Crawford scored 12, John Shurna had 14, Davide Curletti added 18 and Michael Thompson led all NU scorers with 19.

- Wisconsin's 43-point first half was tied for the second-most they've scored in a first half this year. The Badgers scored 45 against Northwestern the first time the two teams played and also scored 43 at home against Michigan State on Feb. 6.


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