Friday’s basketball: Wisconsin ousts Indiana
Washington — Maybe, just maybe, Wisconsin’s late-season swoon is over.
“We’re starting to do this weird thing where we play well offensively and defensively,” senior forward Nigel Hayes said, shaking his head. “We haven’t really done that often, so it’s kind of new to us. Hopefully we can keep that going.”
Winning a second consecutive game after dropping five of six down the stretch, No. 24 Wisconsin slowed Indiana’s high-powered offense, while Bronson Koenig’s 16 points led five Badgers in double figures during their 70-60 victory in the Big Ten quarterfinals Friday night.
Wisconsin’s semifinal opponent is Northwestern, which beat No. 25 Maryland 72-64.
“I mean, you’ve seen it before. You always see it. A team that hasn’t been doing so well — or maybe they’ve done well and had a slump, like we have: If you can turn things around and get trending in the right direction in March, when it’s winning time,” said Hayes, who had 10 points and nine rebounds, “that’s really all that matters.”
Ethan Happ produced 14 points and 12 rebounds for No. 2 seed Wisconsin, which beat 10th-seeded Indiana (18-15) for the third time this season.
The Hoosiers led the Big Ten in scoring (80.4 points) and field-goal percentage (48.4), and were coming off two outings of at least 95 points each in conference play for the first time in 19 years.
But after making 60.3 percent of its shots in a 95-73 win against Iowa on Thursday, Indiana shot 41.1 percent against Wisconsin.
“We did a bad job of speeding them up on defense, trying to do things to make them play faster than they wanted to,” Indiana guard Robert Johnson said. “They played their pace more than we played ours.”
James Blackmon Jr. led Indiana with 17 points, but De’Ron Davis had two points on 1-of-6 shooting after going 7-for-7 for 15 points Thursday.
Indiana made its initial pair of attempts from beyond the arc Friday — by Blackmon, then Johnson — but started 0 for 6 from everywhere else. The Hoosiers twice gave up 9-0 runs to the Badgers.
Hayes, actually, wasn’t all that impressed by his team’s defense.
He pointed out that Indiana outscored Wisconsin in the paint (26-22) and on second-chance points (14-11) and outrebounded the Badgers, too.
“We made some bad switches. We didn’t make some switches that we should have made. … And they still had (only) 60 points. That’s the good and the bad,” Hayes said. “For us, it wasn’t good enough. Kind of like the second-grader’s report card: You get the ‘U’ for ‘Unsatisfactory.’ ”
Still, his team believes it’s heading in the right direction, playing more like the group that began the season 21-3.
“If we can continue to … have a lot of guys contribute, it helps us as we go forward,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “I think we’re maturing. Teams mature in different areas at different times of the year. They’re playing very unselfish, which is good to see.”
More Big Ten
Northwestern 72, No. 25 Maryland 64: Making itself right at home on a court that was anything but neutral, Northwestern roared into the semifinal round, disappointing an enthusiastic — and biased — crowd. Scottie Lindsey and Vic Law each scored 17 points for the Wildcats (23-10), who took control with a 20-2 run in the second half that all but silenced an arena that earlier produced the loudest cheers of the first Big Ten Tournament held in the nation’s capital.
Having already defeated Rutgers and No. 3 seed Maryland, Northwestern on Saturday will face second-seed Wisconsin, a 70-60 winner over Indiana.
Though this was technically considered to be a neutral court, Maryland (24-8) enjoyed many of the benefits of playing at home following a double bye to start the tournament.
Northern Illinois 83, Western Michigan 55: At Cleveland, Breanna Mobley had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Western Michigan (19-13) in a semifinal of the MAC tournament.
No. 2 Villanova 55, Seton Hall 53: Josh Hart scored 19 points, including the winning basket with 9.6 seconds to play, in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. Hart’s three-point play on a rebound was the fifth lead change of the final 4 minutes and there were two ties.
There was almost a third as Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado, the nation’s leading rebounder, missed a shot from in close with 1 second left.
Delgado fell to the court and remained face down as his teammates tried to console him.
The Wildcats (30-3), the four-time defending regular-season champion, will face Creighton for the title on Saturday.
Desi Rodriguez led Seton Hall (21-11) with 14 points. The Pirates had won five in a row.
No. 5 Oregon 73, California 65: Tyler Dorsey had 23 points, Dylan Ennis scored on a key three-point play with 22 seconds left, and Oregon outlasted California in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.
Top-seeded Oregon (29-4) played most of the second half without leading scorer Dillon Brooks due to foul trouble, but increased its lead behind a rash of blocked shots and transition baskets.
Ennis finished with 16 points for Oregon, which will play the winner between No. 3 UCLA and No. 7 Arizona in Saturday’s championship game. Jordan Bell had 15 rebounds and five blocked shots.
California (21-12) lost leading scorer Jabari Bird 64 seconds into the game to a head injury after a hard fall, yet held its own with the Ducks. Grant Mullins led Cal with 23 points and Charlie Moore added 15.
No. 14 Duke 93, No. 6 North Carolina 83: Jayson Tatum scored 24 points and Duke rallied for the win in the Atlantic Coast Conference semifinals.
Luke Kennard had 20 points for the Blue Devils (26-8), who will play for the title Saturday night in Brooklyn against No. 16 Florida State or No. 22 Notre Dame.
By winning the second game between the teams in seven days, fifth-seeded Duke took two of three in the season series against the top-seeded Tar Heels (27-7). It was their first ACC Tournament matchup since the Blue Devils won the 2011 championship game.
Kennedy Meeks had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the taller, deeper and more experienced Tar Heels, who dominated inside early but blew a 13-point lead in the second half.
No. 8 Kentucky 71, Georgia 60: Isaiah Briscoe and De’Aaron Fox each scored 20 points, helping Kentucky advance to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Coming off a double bye as the No. 1 seed, the well-rested Wildcats started both halves quickly and steadily pulled away for a double-digit win over the Bulldogs after two close victories. Kentucky (27-5) offset 38 percent shooting by holding Georgia to 19 of 57 from the field (33 percent).
The Wildcats will face fifth-seeded Alabama on Saturday.
J.J. Frazier had 15 points for the eighth-seeded Bulldogs (19-14), who played their second tournament game in as many days.
No. 11 West Virginia 51, Kansas State 50: West Virginia’s Esa Ahmad made the second of two free throws with 20.2 seconds left, and an off-balance 3-pointer by Kansas State’s Kamau Stokes was off at the buzzer in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.
Tarik Phillip tied the game for the Mountaineers (26-7) with a 3-pointer with 1:41 left, and the Wildcats (20-13) came up empty at the other end. Ahmad was fouled during a mad scramble for a rebound moments later, and he clanked his first free throw before making his second.
The Wildcats brought the ball up court and called timeout with 10.2 seconds left. Tightly guarded as time ran out, Stokes heaved a shot that hit off the rim.
The Mountaineers will face No. 23 Iowa State in the final on Saturday night.
No. 12 SMU 81, East Carolina 77: Semi Ojeleye scored a career-high 36 points, and SMU held off East Carolina in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.
The conference’s player of the year hit 12 of his 19 shots and pulled down 12 rebounds, giving him his fifth double-double this season.
Sterling Brown added 16 points for SMU (28-4), which will play UCF in the semifinals on Saturday. The AAC’s regular-season champions have won 14 straight and 24 of their last 25 games.
Kentrell Barkley, who has been battling tendinitis in his left knee, had 22 of his 24 points in the second half for East Carolina (15-18).
No. 15 Cincinnati 80, Tulsa 61: Kyle Washington scored 21 points and Jacob Evans finished with 20, powering Cincinnati to the runaway win in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals.
Troy Caupain added 15 points for the Bearcats (28-4), who led for all but 17 seconds and by as many as 24 points. Cincinnati advances to face UConn on Saturday.
Corey Henderson Jr. had 15 points and Sterling Taplin scored 10 for Tulsa, which lost three of its final four games to finish the season 15-17.
Cincinnati closed the first half on a 7-0 run and went into the intermission ahead 40-25.
No. 22 Notre Dame 77, No. 16 Florida State 73: Steve Vasturia and Bonzie Colson each scored 18 points, helping Notre Dame advance to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title game.
The third-seeded Fighting Irish (25-8) will face fifth-seeded Duke on Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Notre Dame has eliminated Duke from the tournament each of the past two seasons, including a semifinal victory in 2015 on the way to the Irish’s first conference tournament championship.
Dwayne Bacon led Florida State (25-8) with 18 points.
Vanderbilt 72, No. 17 Florida 62, OT: Riley LaChance scored five of his 18 points in overtime, and Vanderbilt topped Florida in the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
The Commodores (19-14) beat the Gators for the third time this season and second in seven days to earn a berth in the semifinals against Arkansas on Saturday. First-year coach Bryce Drew has Vanderbilt in the semifinals for the first time since 2013 with a win that should push his Commodores firmly into the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year.
Florida (24-8) fought back from an eight-point deficit to force overtime thanks to KeVaughn Allen, who made a tying 3 with 1:42 left. The Gators had the ball with the game tied at 58 but missed two shots in the final seconds of regulation.
Vanderbilt scored the first seven points of OT, with LaChance’s jumper with 4:02 to go putting the Commodores ahead to stay.
Allen and Kasey Hill each finished with 16 points for Florida.
No. 23 Iowa State 84, TCU 63: Deonte Burton scored 22 points, Monte Morris had 15 and Iowa State reached its third Big 12 Tournament title game in the past four seasons.
The fourth-seeded Cyclones (22-10) clearly weren’t impressed — or intimidated — by the Horned Frogs’ victory against top-ranked Kansas in the quarterfinals. Iowa State used two big first-half runs to assume control, and then stretched its advantage to 26 points midway through the second.
That gave coach Steve Prohm’s group, which has won eight of its last nine, plenty of time to rest for Saturday night’s title game against No. 11 West Virginia.
Vladimir Brodziansky and Jaylen Fisher had 10 points apiece for the No. 8 seed Horned Frogs (19-15).