Sealing the Deal

Although the box score will list senior Marcus Landry scoring 23 points, tying a career high, it was the clutch baskets down the stretch and the key defensive plays that gave Wisconsin a 65-61 conference win over Penn State.

MADISON – While few things seldom come easy during the course of a season, senior Marcus Landry can be one of the first players to attest that nothing in the Big Ten ever comes easy.

The reigning Big Ten tournament most outstanding player, Landry averaged 12.1 points per conference game during last year's title run, happily playing second fiddle to seniors Brian Butch and Michael Flowers in the scoring and leadership department.

Now one of the four senior leaders, Landry understands the importance of winning early and not trying to win a championship coming from behind.

So when visiting Penn State, a team UW has beaten by an average of 29 points its last five games in Madison, went on an 11-4 run to pull even with Wisconsin with five minutes to play, Landry took the necessary precautions to make sure the Badgers stayed perfect in conference.

Scoring a game high 23 points, Landry took the pressure on his shoulders and delivered down the stretch, becoming a key instrument in Wisconsin's 65-61 victory over Penn State Saturday afternoon.

The 23 points tied a career high, which Landry set earlier this season against Long Beach State, and his 10 makes and 15 attempts (67 percent) were both personal bests. Of the 23 points, none were bigger than his two baskets in the game's final minute.

With Wisconsin (11-3, 2-0 Big Ten) leading by one with 38.9 seconds left, Landry pivoted and hit a fade-away bank shot from seven feet to put UW ahead 63-60.

"I thought the shot Landry made there was a great shot," said Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis, as the Nittany Lions are now 11-57 (.193) on the road since 2003. "What are you going to do? There's no defense for that one."

After Penn State's Talor Battle hit 1-of-2 free throws to cut the lead to two, Badger point guard Trevon Hughes broke the full-court press of the Nittany Lions (12-3, 1-1 Big Ten) and fired a pass to a wide-open Landry, who sealed the victory with a thunderous dunk and a chest pound with seven seconds left.

"I went up and I knew I had to finish," Landry said of his dunk. "If would have missed, they could have come out and hit another three (to tie). I just went up and hit a dunk."

But it was the plays Landry made outside the scoring column, all coming at the most opportune times, that gave UW its ninth-straight win over the Nittany Lions.

There was Landry's one-handed defensive rebound that he ripped down off the boards, out muscling PSU's leading rebounder (Jamelle Cornley) and starting the break, which fittingly finished with him hitting a free-throw line jumper to tie the game with five minutes to go.

"He's very patent (and) that's a quality that you try to instill in your guys," DeChellis said of Landry. "He's always in the mode where he's under control (and) he's going to make the big play. He's a competitive kid that doesn't force things, which is a great quality to have."

Three possessions later with the score still tied, Landry registered one of his two thunderous blocks on forward Andrew Jones, helping send UW on an 11-7 run to close the game.

"Words probably can say a certain amount," UW head coach Bo Ryan said, "But if people watch the game and see the little things that he did, he played a complete game and we needed it."

Committing nine fouls over the last two games and only averaging 22.5 minutes because of it, Landry struggled to find rhythm against Texas and played sparingly in the second half against Michigan. Saturday afternoon, Landry committed only two personal fouls and played a career-high 38 minutes, providing a big boost to Wisconsin down the stretch.

"Sometimes it just goes that way," Landry said. "Some days you foul out and some days you get the calls. Today was one of the days where I got the calls and I was able to contribute."


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