Feb. 26, 2012
BY BRIAN MASON
UW Athletic Communications
STAR OF THE GAME
Jared Beggren was the star Sunday not only because of his entry in the box score, but because of Jared Sullinger’s stat line, as well. Berggren hit crucial shots down the stretch and poured in 18 while contributing to a defensive effort that held the Ohio State All-American to just eight points in No. 16 Wisconsin’s 63-60 win over the eighth-ranked Buckeyes.
Berggren helped the Badgers limit Sullinger to 4-for-10 shooting and only five rebounds while, on the other end, hitting 6 of his 13 shots and pulling down five boards of his own.
Jordan Taylor was also key to the Badgers’ win and gets an honorable mention. He had a team-high 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the floor and 6-for-7 performance at the free throw line while adding five rebounds and four assists.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Ryan Evans’ find of Berggren for a wide-open, two-handed flush was pretty, but Josh Gasser had the day’s best play for the Badgers. Pinned in the corner just beyond the 3-point arc by Sullinger, Gasser put the ball on the deck with a nifty crossover and beat the Buckeyes’ big man along the baseline. He finished the job with an up-and-under reverse layup that gave the Badgers a 40-39 lead with 13:40 to play.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME
There were plenty of twists and turns in a game that featured 22 lead changes, including several big momentum swings in the final four minutes. Taylor twice put the Badgers out front in the late stages --first with a pull-up jumper over Aaron Craft to make it 52-51 with 3:45 to play and then with a pair of free throws after driving and drawing a foul on Craft to give UW a 58-57 lead with 1:03 to go.
The biggest swing was the final one, however. With the Badgers trailing 59-58, the hot-handed Taylor drew a double team from William Buford at the top of the key. That left Beggren all alone on the wing, where Taylor found him with a quick pass. Buford attempted to recover but couldn’t get to Berggren before the big man splashed a 3-pointer that gave UW a 61-59 lead with just 31 seconds remaining.
When Deshaun Thomas blanked on contested 3-pointer on Ohio State’s ensuing possession, Berggren was there for the board. Fouled in the process of hauling down the rebound, he dropped in a pair of free throws on the other end to salt things away for the Badgers.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Badgers own the most conference road wins and highest road winning percentage in conference games of any Big Ten team since Bo Ryan took the reins in 2001-02 season. Still, it had been a while since UW downed a top-10 Big Ten team on the road. Thirty-two years to be exact. Sunday’s victory was the Badgers’ first road win over a Big Ten team ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll since they downed No. 4 Ohio State on Jan. 26, 1980.