Madison, Wis. – Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury has seen enough road games to not want an outcome determined by a last-moment call by an official.
But Stansbury and the Hilltoppers got one on Wednesday night at the Kohl Center.
Brad Davison’s free throw with two seconds to go lifted Wisconsin to an 81-80 win against Western Kentucky.
Darius Thompson’s tear-drop jumper tied the score at 80-80 for Western Kentucky with two seconds left in regulation. Davison drew a foul while setting a screen and made the front end of a 1-and-1.
Replay showed that Davison’s foot was inbounds, but Stansbury said he thought it was out. Officials didn’t look at the monitor after the play and the call stood.
“That play will get magnified, (but) that play didn’t beat us. It didn’t beat us,” said Stansbury of the Hilltoppers, who missed critical free throws and didn’t make stops on defense.
“Don’t put yourself in a position on the road to make a 50-50 call because I’ve been on the road enough, and most the time it’s a bad ending.”
Ethan Happ and Brevin Pritzl scored 17 points each for Wisconsin (5-7), which snapped a two-game losing streak. Davison scored 16 points and Aleem Ford had a career-high 14 or the Badgers, who shot 12 of 20 from 3-point range. Ford and Pritzl were 4 of 5 from long range.
Lamonte Bearden scored 19 points and Thompson added 18 for Western Kentucky (6-4). Bearden, a transfer, played prep basketball at Germantown (Wis.) High School, a Milwaukee suburb. This season is Bearden’s first, after sitting out due to transfer rules. Bearden fouled out with 7.9 seconds to go.
Wisconsin shot 73 percent from the field in the second half but the Badgers’ poor ball handling — eight second half turnovers — allowed the Hilltoppers to stay within reach.
Thompson and Taveion Hollingsworth combined for 22 second-half points for the Hilltoppers.
The game against a Big Ten opponent was the second this season for Western Kentucky, which posted a 77-73 win against then-No. 18 Purdue at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on Nov. 23.
Western Kentucky strung together a 14-0 run to nab the lead. Jake Ohmer drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to start the run, which was capped by a Thompson layup that gave the Hilltoppers a 34-29 edge with 3:08 to go in the first.
The Badgers managed only one field goal in their final six attempts in the first, Pritzl’s 3-pointer that pulled Wisconsin within at 38-34 at the break.
After consecutive 3-pointers by Pritzl and Davison early in the second half, the Badgers never trailed again. A 9-0 pushed the lead to 10 with 12:21 to play but the Hilltoppers clawed back. They tied the game at 71 on a Thompson 3 and Ohmer’s layup with 4:48 to play and stayed in the game by hitting 9 of 11 from the line in the second half to 10 of 19 for the Badgers.
Pritzl said that it was good to see multiple players making shots.
It feels good when everybody is hitting 3s, making shots and taking them confidently,” Pritzl said. “I think that’s something that we need to have to keep doing; taking them with the confidence that they’re going to go down, and they will.”
More Big Ten
(At) Illinois 92, Longwood 45: Aaron Jordan scored 22 points, Trent Frazier added 20, and Michael Finke scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He hit the first basket of the game on a baseline jumper, buried his first two shots from downtown, and scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half.
The Lancers held a 12-10 lead with roughly 12 minutes remaining in the first half, but after a 3 by Finke, Longwood would never take the lead again. Illinois finished the half on an 18-4 run and entered the break with a 26-point lead.
Jordan, who leads the Illini with 29 made 3-pointers, was 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.
Illinois (8-4) outrebounded Longwood 52 to 23 and shot 51.4 percent in the first half.
Longwood (3-7) committed 24 turnovers and struggled to operate under Illinois’ pressure. The Lancers shot 34 percent from the field, 31.3 percent from beyond the arc and hit 16 field goals.
(At) No. 1 Villanova 87, Temple 67: Jalen Brunson had 22 of his career-high 31 points in Villanova’s dominating first half and Omari Spellman scored 27. Donte DiVincenzo added 12 points for Villanova (11-0), which won its unprecedented 22nd straight Big 5 game. The Wildcats last lost a contest in the Philadelphia round-robin series to Temple on Dec. 5, 2012. The Big 5 also consists of La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and Penn.
The Wildcats moved into the top spot in the rankings for the third straight season this week.
Quinton Rose scored 27 points for the Owls (6-3).
(At) No. 9 Texas A&M 113, Savannah St. 66: Tyler Davis recorded a double-double before halftime and Texas A&M put seven players in double figures.
D.J. Hogg led the balanced scoring for the Aggies (9-1) with 18 points. Davis overpowered the smaller Tigers (3-8) near the basket, finishing with 17 rebounds and 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
A&M produced its highest point total since the 1989-90 season, connecting on a school-record 16 3-pointers in 38 attempts. Hogg made 5 of 9 from 3-point range, while point guard Duane Wilson and reserve T.J. Starks hit four apiece.
Javaris Jenkins led Savannah State with 18 points.
(At) No. 24 Texas Tech 82, Kennesaw St. 53: Keenan Evans scored 16 points and Texas Tech got its first win as a ranked team in eight years.
The Red Raiders were ranked 22nd two weeks ago when they lost to Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden and fell out of the Top 25. They returned after handing then-No. 22 Nevada its first loss last week.
Texas Tech (8-1) rolled to a 42-19 halftime lead, holding the Owls to 4-of-19 shooting and outrebounding them 26-10. Kennesaw State (1-8) shot 33 percent for the game.
James Scott scored 19 points for the Owls.