The Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Team kicked off March in nail-biting fashion victory over Minnesota. Riding a 5-game winning streak, the Badgers looked to avoid a season sweep by the Gophers after losing 52-70 in early February. The day was shaping up to be a pretty good one as it was a balmy 50 degrees out, “Area Red” received free Hawaiian shirts and were out in full force at tip (take that Zak Showalter), and junior guard Brad Davison received pregame recognition of reaching 1,000 career points in front of a sold out Kohl Center.
The game looked as though it may be a repeat of February when the Gophers built a 10-3 lead within the first 5 minutes of the game. However, after the TV timeout, the Badgers went on an 11-0 run capped off by a Tyler Wahl steal which lead to a wide open Trevor Anderson layup. For the rest of the first half, the game was a stalemate, as the largest lead for the rest of the half came when the Badgers went up 3 with 10 minutes left. The Badgers took the momentum into the locker room after an acrobatic Brad Davison layup to put the Badgers up 31-28.
Coming out of the half, it looked as though the Badgers had gathered a stronghold on the game as they pushed their lead to double digits, winning by a score of 49-37. A Marcus Carr made layup sparked a 12-0 run by the Gophers which was capped off by Alihan Demir layup to push the game even at 49.
The rest of the second half mirrored the first half as both teams traded baskets and never got more than a 4-point lead which the Gophers took with 2:00 remaining off of a Gabe Kalscheur layup following a Micah Potter turnover.
The Badgers regained the lead by a score of 67-66 with 0:56 seconds remaining when Brevin Pritzl nailed what possibly could have been the most wide open 3 pointer of his career, from the corner right in front of the Badger bench. Following the clutch Priztl 3-pointer, the Gophers turned to their big man Daniel Oturu who had been killing the Badgers all night. Oturu made a jumper to put the Gophers up 68-67 with 47 seconds left–leading to a Wisconsin timeout.
Coming out of the timeout the Badgers drew up a perfect play, using Nate Reuvers as decoy pick and pop with Dmitrick Trice, who dished a no-look pass to a cutting Aleem Ford who punched in an emphatic slam dunk giving the Badgers a 69-68 lead.
Following the timeout, the Gophers turned to their bread and butter Oturu who was blocked by Reuvers on a post move. The block wound up in Brevin Pritzl’s hand who was fouled and went to the foul line, sinking both and giving the Badgers a 71-68 lead with 11 seconds remaining in the game.
The last 11 seconds felt like an eternity, as the Badgers made it interesting by fouling Marcus Carr and giving up an offensive rebound on his second missed foul shot. Even then, the Gophers only could manage one point out of this debacle setting the score at 71-69 with 2 seconds left and Micah Potter at the line to ice the game. However Potter missed both free throws but there simply was not enough time for the Gophers who fired up an unsuccesful half-court heave at the buzzer.
Following the win the Badgers now sit at 19-10 (12-6) and are in a 3-way tie for second place in the Big Ten and put them one game behind conference-leading Maryland. The Badgers will look to push their winning streak to 7 games Wednesday night, as they host the Northwestern Wildcats, who only have 2 wins in the Big Ten, on Senior Day.