Minneapolis — The buzzer sounded and Ethan Happ collapsed to the court, arms outstretched and eyes closed.
Wisconsin’s versatile sophomore big man did everything he could to carry the Badgers to a win over rival Minnesota. And it turned out he did just enough.
Happ scored a career-high 28 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out six assists to lead No. 17 Wisconsin to a 78-76 overtime victory against Minnesota on Saturday.
“That was a mixture of happiness and exhaustion,” Happ said after hitting 11 of 19 shots and blocking five on the other end. “For our team to have a win like this on the road against a really good team is fantastic. But the fact that we didn’t play great all game and battled back is a true test of character for our team.”
Nigel Hayes added 21 points and Bronson Koenig hit two huge 3-pointers in overtime to help Wisconsin (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten) beat the Golden Gophers for the sixth straight time. The bigger, stronger Badgers outscored Minnesota 44-24 in the paint to win for the 12th time in their last 13 games.
Amir Coffey scored 19 points and Akeem Springs added 16 for the Gophers (15-5, 3-4), who lost their third straight game. Springs hit a 3-pointer to force overtime, but his last-second heave in the extra period clanked off the rim to preserve the victory for Wisconsin.
“I don’t see a whole lot of negative to look at from tonight, besides the fact that we lost,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “They should feel like we can be a really good team in this league. And we can only get better.”
Williams Arena was sold out for the first time in two years, and the crowd got its money’s worth. There were 18 ties and 16 lead changes, and neither team led by more than five points.
Reggie Lynch scored on a putback to put Minnesota up 64-62, but the Gophers went more than five minutes without scoring against the Big Ten’s best defense. Springs got loose for an off-the-dribble 3-pointer from the left wing that tied the score with 11.4 seconds to go in regulation.
Koenig’s second 3-pointer of OT put Wisconsin up 77-76 with 44 seconds to play. He finished with 11 points.
(At) No. 21 Purdue 77, Penn State 52: Caleb Swanigan had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Purdue. The Boilermakers (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten) got 13 points from freshman guard Carsen Edwards and 10 each from Dakota Mathias and Vince Edwards. Josh Reaves led Penn State (11-9, 3-4) with 12 points.