Columbus, Ohio – Wisconsin coach Greg Gard wasn’t sure whether to be mad at his players for blowing a 23-point second-half lead at Ohio State or happy they found a way to win.
Ultimately, Gard settled on a positive outlook after his 21st-ranked Badgers rallied for a 73-67 overtime win on Sunday.
“We’ll be fine,” Gard said. “This is a great lesson for us. It’s a better lesson than doing that and losing it. We have to look at how well we played for 33 or 35 minutes. We did some really good things, and we did some good things in overtime, too.”
Wisconsin (22-9, 14-6) snagged the No. 4 seed and a bye in the first two rounds of the Big Ten tournament, which starts Wednesday in Chicago.
“For this group, to do what they’ve done this year, given the predictions and prognostications, to finish fourth and get the double-bye is a heck of an accomplishment for our guys,” Gard said.
Wisconsin was up by 23 and appeared to be cruising to an easy win in the second half. But Ohio State (18-13, 8-12) went on a 27-5 run over the last seven minutes of regulation to force overtime. Wisconsin’s defense held tough as the Badgers outscored the Buckeyes 10-4 in the extra period.
“We made it way more interesting than I ever wanted it to be,” Gard said.
More Big Ten
(At) Penn State 72, Illinois 56: Senior Josh Reaves scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Reaves made 10 of 17 field goals including a career-best 6 of 10 from 3-point range to lead the Nittany Lions in a game they led for all but 3:23 of the second half.
Lamar Stevens added 16 points for the Nittany Lions (14-17, 7-13 Big Ten), who won their second in a row and earned a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament with Indiana’s win over Rutgers.
Ayo Dosunmo and Giorgi Bezhanishvili scored 16 points apiece for Illinois (11-20, 7-13).
Penn State trailed 32-31 at halftime but Reaves made sure that didn’t stick. He scored 11 of Penn State’s first 16 points in the second and his fourth 3-pointer gave Penn State a lead it wouldn’t relinquish just over three minutes into the half.
The Nittany Lions pulled away to lead by as many as 14.
After both teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the game, Illinois used a 14-7 run and led 19-12 midway through the half. The Nittany Lions had gone 1-for-12 from 3-point range to that point but got three in a row from Reaves and Rasir Bolton before a 3-point play from Stevens put Penn State up 26-25.
The Illini ended the first half with an 8-5 run that included a pair of 3-pointers from Dosunmo.
(At) Nebraska 93, Iowa 91: Amir Harris scored the go-ahead layup with 10.8 seconds left, Thorir Thorbjarnarson blocked Jordan Bohanon’s 3-pointer try at the buzzer and Nebraska came back from a nine-point deficit in the last minute of regulation to beat Iowa 93-91 in overtime Sunday.
The win might have served as an emotional sendoff for Cornhuskers’ coach Tim Miles, whose future at Nebraska is in serious doubt after his team’s free fall the second half of the season. The loss, in Iowa coach Fran McCaffery’s return from a two-game suspension, was the fourth in a row for the Hawkeyes (21-10, 10-10 Big Ten).
Nebraska (15-15, 6-14), which had lost 11 of its previous 13 games, trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half and by nine with 50 seconds left. The Huskers made nine shots in a row and 10 of their last 11 in regulation, with Watson making three 3-pointers and Palmer two before Palmer tied it at 81-all with his baseline drive with eight seconds left.
Palmer finished with 27 points and Watson and Isaiah Roby added 23 apiece for a Nebraska team that used only eight players because of injuries and a suspension.
Luka Garza matched his career high with 25 points and Jordan Bohannon had 20 for the Hawks.
When it was over, the 12,000 fans who watched so much bad basketball at Pinnacle Bank Arena were on their feet, the Nebraska players were at center court dancing and Miles made his way back to the locker room to cheers and high-fives.
A 19-3 run over the halves turned a 28-28 tie into a 47-31 Iowa lead, and the Hawkeyes looked ready to win going away.
Their offense didn’t go dormant; Nebraska just kept pushing. Iowa, which made 9 of 10 free throws in the last minute of regulation, seemed almost powerless to stop an inspired Nebraska team.
(At) Indiana 89, Rutgers 73: Juwan Morgan had 25 points and seven rebounds, Romeo Langford added 20 points and six rebounds while Devonte Green had 16 points for the Hoosiers (17-14, 8-12), who secured a first-round bye at the Big Ten tournament in Chicago.
Morgan shot 11 of 13 from the field to post his second 25-point game this season. The senior was coming off a 20-point performance with nine rebounds in Indiana’s 92-74 victory against Illinois.
The win was Indiana’s fourth straight after losing 12 of its previous 13 games before the team’s recent run to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
Rutgers (14-16, 7-13) lost its second consecutive conference game and missed out on a chance at a first-round bye in the conference tournament, which runs from March 13-17 at the United Center.
Junior Eugene Omoruyi led the Scarlet Knights with 18 points and six rebounds. Caleb McConnell finished with 17 points and five rebounds.
The Hoosiers controlled the glass and shot over 50 percent in the first half to establish a double-digit lead by the 12:40 mark. Indiana shot 53 percent in the game and were 79 percent from the free-throw line at 23 of 29.
A 20-5 run by the Hoosiers led to a 16-point lead with 10:25 remaining in the first half. Indiana shot 15 of 28 from the field at 54 percent and outrebounded the Scarlet Knights 19-16 to build a 46-36 lead by halftime. Morgan scored 12 of his team-high 25 points in the first half with six rebounds, including four on the defensive glass.
A 3-pointer by Morgan gave the Hoosiers a 20-point advantage in the second half before the margin reached 22 points after a Devonte Green layup with 11:06 remaining. The Hoosiers largest lead stretched to 23 points behind a Justin Smith dunk with less than seven minutes left.
The Hoosiers scored 14 points off turnovers, 12 points on second chances and 48 points in the paint. They converted 19 of 24 layups and only turned the ball over six times.
No. 12 Houston 85, (at) No. 20 Cincinnati 69: Corey Davis Jr. scored a career-high 31 points, and Houston dominated the second half to clinch the American Athletic Conference’s regular-season title outright.
The Cougars (29-2, 16-2) knocked off the defending champs and earned their first league title since 1992 in the Southwest Conference. Their 29 regular-season wins are a school record.
Down by six early in the second half, Nate Hinton hit back-to-back 3s that started a 35-12 spurt. Davis’ back-to-back 3s put the Cougars up by 17 points and sent Cincinnati fans headed for the exits with 4:22 to go.
Last year, the Bearcats (25-6, 14-4) won the regular-season title and the AAC Tournament, beating Houston in the title game. This time, the Cougars swept the season series, winning in Cincinnati for the first time after 16 losses.
Jarron Cumberland scored 20 points for Cincinnati.
No. 22 Wofford 81, ETSU 72: Fletcher Magee made six 3-pointers and scored 26 points, Cameron Jackson added 20 points and seven rebounds, and Wofford beat East Tennessee State to advance to the Southern Conference championship game.
Magee, the Southern Conference player of the year, made 10 of 14 shots from the field and 6 of 7 from 3-point range, including two on which he twisted almost 180 degrees in the air to get the shot off. Jackson finished 9 of 12 from the floor and was dominant in the second half for the Terriers (28-4).
Magee needs seven 3-pointers to become the NCAA Division I career leader.
Daivien Williamson led ETSU (24-9) with 17 points and Mladen Armus had 15.