The Badgers won their fourth straight over the Spartans with a gritty, hard fought 68-64 decision over MSU Tuesday.
Michigan State's Paul Davis was playing a magnificent game, having scored 25 points and recording 10 rebounds but left the game with 2:31 remaining in regulation with a case of the cramps, first in the left leg, but then in the right.
Despite four trainers and team doctors working on him, Davis was unable to re-enter the game. Junior guard Chris Hill was equally the goat. Hill was unable to free himself from the Wisconsin defense all game, but found himself at the free throw line with the game tied and 22 seconds remaining.
Inexplicably, Hill bricked both free throws and Wisconsin found itself with the ball and a chance to win the game in regulation. Matt Trannon cleared the rebound to send the game into overtime.
The Spartans were unable to score consistently in the extra session without Davis and an ineffective Hill. Wisconsin built a two-point lead and when guard Devin Harris shook off the MSU defense and kicked it to the wing for a 3-pointer from junior walk-on Clayton Hanson, Wisconsin pulled ahead 62-58.
Hill buried two NBA range 3-pointers to cut the lead to 66-64, but Wisconsin answered every challenge, hitting 6 of 6 free throws down the stretch. Hill's last 3-point attempt fell short and Wisconsin prevailed.
The Badgers improved to 11-4 in Big Ten play and 20-6 overall, while Michigan State fell to 12-4 and 17-10. The Spartans loss pushes Illinois (11-3, 20-5) into first place. A Wisconsin win Saturday over Indiana and an Illinois loss in one of its last two games of the season would create a three-way tie for first place.
Michigan State's banners will remain in the rafters until they can be taken down tomorrow.