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No.24 Wisconsin picks a part Northwestern in a 76-48 victory, advancing to the Big Ten tournament finals

Senior Nigel Hayes registered a double-double and Wisconsin shot 53.8 percent in the second half to demolish Northwestern, 76-48, in the Big Ten tournament semifinals

WASHINGTON – Wisconsin’s late season slide was started by a home loss to a hungrier, fired-up Northwestern. It was evident that the Badgers didn’t forget.

With the Wildcats’ February victory in Madison likely fresh in their minds, No.24 Wisconsin delivered one of its best performances of the season in a 76-48 blasting of the sixth-seeded Wildcats in the Big Ten tournament semifinals at the Verizon Center.

Wisconsin (25-8) shot 47.4 percent from the floor and put three starters in double figures, led by Nigel Hayes 18 points and 10 rebounds. The 28-point victory was the Badgers biggest in Big Ten tournament history.  

Wisconsin will go for its fourth tournament championship in school history when it faces No.8 Michigan tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. CT. The Wolverines defeated fourth-seed Minnesota behind 29 points from Derrick Walton Jr. in the first semifinal.

Wisconsin shot only 41.9 percent in the first half but led 38-21 after putting the Wildcats through a defensive clinic. Shooting just 7-for-27, the Badgers held the Wildcats to 1-for-11 from the floor the final 7:44 and .677 points per possession.

It only got better for Wisconsin in the second half, as the Badgers were shooting 60 percent from the floor when the starters hit the bench with four minutes remaining.

Missing the regular season meeting while recovering from mononucleosis, Scottie Lindsey scored 16 to lead Northwestern (23-11), which shot 34.6 percent and only 3-for-14 from 3-point range. After scoring 25 points on 23 shots in Madison, Bryant McIntosh managed only eight points on 4-for-12 shooting with Wisconsin senior Zak Showalter in his face.

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