Brian Butch banked in a 3-point basket with 4.1 seconds remaining to give the Badgers a thrilling 68-66 win over the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington Wednesday.
The win left the Badgers jumping in celebration at mid-court, alone in second place in the Big Ten standings, a game behind the Purdue Boilermakers.
"Sometimes the shot goes, sometimes it doesn't," Butch said. "That's just the nature of the game: sometimes you're a hero, sometimes you're a loser."
Count Butch as a hero.
Coming out of a timeout, trailing by one Wisconsin (20-4, 10-2 Big Ten) was set to run a play similar to what they had in late game situations against Texas and Purdue, looking for a guard to go off a Butch screen and see what develops.
When the Indiana (20-4, 9-2 Big Ten) defense made it difficult for Michael Flowers to inbound the ball to one of his first few options, Flowers had to force it to Marcus Landry on the left wing.
Landry tried to drive to the hoop, but seeing his path cut off, found Butch back behind the 3-point line to set up the heroics.
"He was astute enough to drive what the guards usually do, and if they leave, Brian is the throw-back guy," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said of Landry.
The shot was hardly a thing of beauty, but it felt good to Butch as it left his hand.
"You know I really felt I was going to make it, too," Butch said. "It left my hand, and … I thought there was enough (touch) on it to let it go. I didn't think I was going to bank it."
Surprised by the bank and expecting the Hoosiers to call a timeout to set up their final shot, the Badgers seemed to temporarily lag off the defensive intensity. But Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson, thinking such a move would have given Wisconsin a chance to set its defense, elected not to take a timeout and the Hoosiers got a good look at a shot to win the game. Jamarcus Ellis wound up with the ball in his hands, but his 3-pointer from the side hit the rim and bounced over the backboard as time expired.
"I probably would like to have seen the ball in Eric (Gordon) or Armon's (Bassett) hands in that situation," Sampson said.
Not to be overshadowed by Butch's huge shot, Jason Bohannon scored a career-high 18 points knocking down six 3-pointers (one short of the school record), while Michael Flowers tallied 15 as the two guards kept the team alive in the first half. Bohannon and Flowers combined for 25 of the Badgers' 36 points in the first half.
The second half was as close as the first half with both teams laying it all on the line. Indiana extended their lead to six early in the half, but behind the solid second half play of Brian Butch, who finished with 13 points, and Marcus Landry the Badgers were able to take the lead at the 8:26 mark.
The Hoosiers regained the lead and the two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the game before some big- time plays went down in the final minute. UW led 63-62 when IU's D.J. White hit a jumper with 45 seconds left to take a one-point lead. On the Badgers' next possession, Marcus Landry put up a jumper, missed, but was able to tip in his own miss to regain the lead for the Badgers.
Indiana freshman Eric Gordon then went to the free throw line for a bonus free throw attempt. He made the first and then the second putting the Hoosiers back on top 66-65. With less than ten seconds to play, Landry dropped the ball off to Butch on a ball screen and with five ticks left, Butch let it fly and nailed the game-winner. IU's Jamarcus Ellis was able to get a 3-pointer of his own off as time expired, but it was a little long and Wisconsin left Assembly Hall with the win.
Joe Krabbenhoft added to the win with ten rebounds and Greg Stiemsma chipped in with four points, four rebounds and a team-high three assists. Trevon Hughes and Landry each added eight points in Wisconsin's 20th win of the season.
Just as in the last time the two teams met up, Indiana was a two-headed monster offensively. Gordon (23 points) and D.J. White (17) combined for nearly two-thirds of the Indiana scoring.
After being nearly unstoppable early on — scoring 14 points in the first half without missing a shot — Wisconsin was able to limit White to only three points after halftime. That may have come at the expense of guarding Gordon, however, as the freshman scored 17 in the second half.
Indiana led by as many as nine points in the first half, but Wisconsin was able to trim the deficit to one point by the end of the half.
Despite making just five 2-point field goals in the first half, the Badgers were able to hang around thanks to tremendous 3-point shooting. Bohannon led the charge with four baskets from long range and UW made eight 3-pointers in all in the first half.
The Badgers have now won 20 games in five of Bo Ryan's seven years at the helm. Wisconsin is now alone in second place in the Big Ten with a game against Minnesota on deck. Indiana and league-leading Purdue play each other Feb. 19 in Bloomington, Ind.
Athletic Communications Contributed to this Report