Badgers rally for improbable victory

UW erases late 8-point deficit to extend home winning streak in dramatic fashion

MADISON – Shannon Brown put his head in his hands as the Kohl Center erupted. His Michigan State teammates paused in stunned disbelief before walking to their bench. At the other end of the court, Kammron Taylor leapt with joy while his Wisconsin teammates celebrated.

With two minutes left in Sunday afternoon's Big Ten men's basketball game, the Badgers' nation-leading home winning streak was being annotated for the history books.

Wisconsin, though, rattled off 11 unanswered points in the final 1:57 to shock the Spartans and keep the streak alive and well.

Final score: Wisconsin 62, Michigan State 59.

The Spartans had the final shot. But Brown's 3-point attempt from the left wing danced inside the cylinder before hopping out, the rebound bounding against the base of the backboard as the clock struck zero, preserving an incredible come-from-behind win for the Badgers.

"I don't know how it went out," UW senior guard Clayton Hanson said. "It bounced around and I thought for sure overtime. Fortunately, it went out and time was expired."

Hanson was one of many heroes for Wisconsin on this day:

  • Mike Wilkinson, a 64 percent free throw shooter, made four consecutive charity shots – his only points in the second half – to draw the Badgers within 59-58 with 1:14 left to play. He also helped defensively on an Alan Anderson drive with 11 seconds left to preserve the Badgers' lead.
  • Kammron Taylor, who took just three shots all game, made a 4-foot runner in the lane with 31 seconds left to give UW a 60-59 lead.
  • Zach Morley pulled down his eighth defensive rebound after Anderson's miss and knocked down a pair of free throws with 9.3 seconds left to give Wisconsin a 62-59 lead.
  • Hanson and senior guard Sharif Chambliss combined to make nine 3-pointers, keeping the Badgers in the game when Michigan State threatened to put it out of reach.

The win gave Wisconsin (12-3 overall, 3-1 Big Ten) 38 consecutive victories at home and six straight wins over MSU. UW is a perfect 26-0 in Big Ten home games under fourth-year head coach Bo Ryan.

The number, and streak, that meant the most Sunday, however, was the game-winning 11-0 run.

"It seemed like everything that happened resulted in a positive for us," Ryan said of the final two minutes. "That's why you play the game until the buzzer sounds."

Michigan State (10-3, 2-1) gave UW all it asked for up until the closing minutes. The Spartans led for the final seven minutes of the first half and held the advantage for all but two-and-a-half minutes in the second half.

"I think we played our ass off. I really do," MSU coach Tom Izzo said. "And they played theirs off. It was one of those games where you had to make some plays down the stretch."

"I have no complaints other than three minutes of defense," Izzo said.

With 8:30 left to play Hanson hit his second consecutive 3-pointer to cap a 9-2 run and give UW a 51-50 lead, its first lead since MSU erased a 23-22 edge with 7:06 left in the first half.

"He kept the game from getting away from us," Ryan said of Hanson, who made 5 of 7 triples for a team-high 15 points.

Wisconsin, though, would not score for six minutes and 33 seconds following Hanson's fifth triple of the game at the 8:30 mark. Michigan State snapped off a 9-0 run in that stretch. Senior guard Chris Hill hit a 3-pointer to give the Spartans a 57-51 lead with 5:33 left to play and junior center Paul Davis, who scored a game-high 20 points, made a jumper to give MSU the game's largest lead at 59-51.

The Spartans, though, missed their last four shots from the field, including Davis' attempt with 2:14 remaining, which could have put MSU up 10.

Chambliss started the Badgers' rally 17 seconds later, drilling a triple from four feet beyond the 3-point arc along the right wing.

Wisconsin used a full-court press in the final two minutes; four seconds after his triple, Chambliss was called for a questionable blocking foul in front of the Badger bench. Hill, though, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Wilkinson drove to the basket and drew a foul on Davis with 1:39 left to play.

Wilkinson, who entered the game just 34 of 54 from the free throw line, had badly missed his first attempt earlier in the game.

He looked like a 90 percent shooter with the game on the line, though, drilling a pair to make it 59-56.

"If you watched the first one I shot tonight, I don't think I could have got it any further away," Wilkinson said. "The ice was kind of broken with that one. I wasn't nervous at all."

Wilkinson missed a triple that could have tied it seven seconds later, but Davis, a 66 percent free throw shooter, missed the first of a 1-and-1 with 1:27 left.

Wilkinson drew another foul on a drive to the lane, knocking down two more free throws with 1:14 left to draw UW within 59-58.

"I wanted to be there," Wilkinson said. "I got caught on a screen down at the other end and Davis scored. I just remember wanting the ball down at the offensive end. I just wanted to step up to the line and knock it down."

Wilkinson tipped Davis' shot with 46 seconds left and hustled across the lane to help senior forward Zach Morley tie up Anderson for a jump ball, giving UW possession.

On then ensuing possession, Taylor executed a fine give-and-go with Wilkinson, taking a handoff along the perimeter and slashing down the lane, pulling up short of the goal and floating in the eventual game-winner.

"We came into the huddle and our coach told us that had been open a couple times," Taylor said. "I think Kelvin Torbert was about to take a charge and I just had to stop and pop. Everything was good from there."

"It was just the way they were playing the handoff," Wilkinson said. "We knew that if we cleared it out it would be open." Box Score

Badger Nation Top Stories