8:07 PM ET, March 22, 2014
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
No. 2 seed Wisconsin rallies in 2nd half, wins thriller over No. 7 Oregon
MILWAUKEE -- As an ear-splitting roar enveloped the arena, the Wisconsin Badgers pointed to their chests and strutted off the floor as if they had won a prize fight.
In a test of basketball tempos, Wisconsin delivered the knockout punch.
Ben Brust hit a 3-pointer with 1:07 left and the second-seeded Badgers returned to the Sweet 16 after overcoming No. 7 Oregon's transition game for a thrilling 85-77 win Saturday night in the NCAA tournament.
Trailing by 12 at the half, coach Bo Ryan's veteran squad didn't flinch.
"To be able to handle that smack in the face in the first half and come back and deliver one of our own says a lot about this group," Ryan said.
Brust's clutch 3 from the corner gave the Badgers (28-7) the lead for good in a clash of styles played before a boisterous pro-Wisconsin crowd at the anything-but-neutral Bradley Center.
Traevon Jackson followed Brust's shot with three free throws, but missed one with 21 seconds left to give the Ducks (24-10) one more chance to tie.
Oregon gave it to Joseph Young, who had made big shots all night and scored 29 points. But he missed a rushed 3 from the wing, and the Badgers sealed it at the foul line.
"That shot he took, no one questioned it," Oregon's Richard Amardi said about Young. "It looked good. Unfortunately it just didn't go it in when we wanted it."
The red-clad fans erupted in delight. Their beloved Badgers are back in the NCAA regional semifinals for the first time since 2012. They will play Baylor or Creighton in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday.
"Once that momentum swung, we were in trouble," Oregon coach Dana Altman said.
Frank Kaminsky led the way with 19 points, Jackson finished with 16 and Brust had 12 -- all on 3-pointers.
Left off-kilter by the Ducks transition game early and trailing by 12 at the half, the Badgers hustled back in the second half to answer the Oregon charge. After 19 points on the break in the first half, Oregon had nothing in transition after halftime.
"Do you know how many fast-break points they got in the second half? Zero." Ryan said. "Oregon, one of the quickest teams in the country, so you've got to give the players a heckuva lot of credit."
The half court sets belonged to Wisconsin. The pace played more their liking.
Buckets in the lane by Kaminsky, a jump-shooting 7-footer, and coach Ryan's gritty guards set the tone inside, and later helped open up the perimeter.
"It's tournament time and no one wants to go home," Kaminsky said. "You're doing whatever you can to stay in. If that means being physical down low with anyone -- it's a battle."
Still, as had often happened during the night, Young had an answer. His 3 from the wing with 2:50 left gave Oregon a 75-74 lead.
The Badgers hustled for two offensive rebounds on their next possession. Off a timeout, Ryan re-inserted Brust, who was saddled with four fouls.
The senior delivered in a huge spot. Young couldn't deliver one last time.
"Do whatever it takes to not make it your final game," Brust said.
Jason Calliste had 20 points for Oregon, which set the tone early with in-your-face defense and an aggressive offense.
Wisconsin found its groove by attacking the basket, a plan that has worked all year long when the team has been having problems. Dekker added 12 points and eight rebounds in another typically balanced effort.
In the first half, it was Oregon dictating tempo by setting a breakneck pace.
The Ducks quieted the Wisconsin fans in a hurry, attacking at nearly every opportunity and flustering Wisconsin. The frustration peaked when the Badgers bench was whistled for a technical foul near the end of the first half after arguing a call.
Oregon pounced in the first 20 minutes. Sometimes it was Calliste driving to the bucket to draw fouls. Other times it was Young hitting mid-range jumpers.
Then Wisconsin found its way in the second half.
Despite the disappointing ending, Oregon had regrouped quite well since a midseason stretch of eight losses in 10 games.
"We didn't get stops and we didn't rebound," forward Mike Moser said. "Simple as that."
NCAA Mens Tournament
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 22: The Oregon Ducks faces off against the Wisconsin Badgers during the third round of the...(Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Around Champ Week
Deciding: In what has been the surprising twist of the season, Wisconsin, not known for offense, again relied on its offense down the stretch.
Player of the game: Frank Kaminsky. He scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds as the Badgers outrebounded Oregon 37-26.
Key stat: Ben Brust hit a school-record 228th 3-pointer with 53.3 left after three offensive rebounds by the Badgers to keep the possession alive and give Wisconsin a lead it would not give up.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||24-49 (.490)||29-60 (.483)|
|3P Made-Attempted||8-18 (.444)||11-28 (.393)|
|FT Made-Attempted||21-23 (.913)||16-25 (.640)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||23 (0/0)||17 (0/0)|
|» Mar 22, 2014||@WIS 85, ORE 77||Recap|
Wisconsin allowed 49 points in the first half Saturday, 14 more than it allowed in the entire game to American in the Round of 64. In the second half, the Badgers held Oregon to 28 points, tied for the Ducks' second-fewest second-half points this season.
Wisconsin outscored Oregon 14-4 in second-chance points Saturday, its third-most this season. Entering Saturday, the Badgers averaged 8.6 second-chance points per game, ranking 77th out of 83 major conference teams (AAC, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC). Wisconsin's 14 offensive rebounds are tied for its second most this season.[+]
Wisconsin Rebounding - This Season
Oregon built a 12-point halftime lead by scoring 17 transition points. Wisconsin had not allowed more than 18 transition points in a game entering Saturday. In the second half, Oregon scored two transition points on free throws and did not attempt a shot on the break.[+]
Oregon Transition Offense - Saturday
Wisconsin beat Oregon 85-77, and it's not the way Badgers fans are accustomed to seeing their team win. Under Bo Ryan, Wisconsin had allowed its tourney opponent to score at least 75 points on four previous occasions, and they've gotten crushed in those games.[+]
Wisconsin allowing 75+ pts in NCAA Tournament - Under Bo Ryan
Wisconsin allowed 49 points in the first half, 14 more than it allowed in the entire game to American in the Round of 64.[+]
Wisconsin Defense - 2014 Men's Basketball Championship
Oregon scored 49 points in the 1st half against Wisconsin. It's the most points the Badgers have allowed in the 1st half all season.
ESPN Stats & Information