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Weathering the Storm: Badgers outlast St. John's in NCAA tournament

2013 NCAA Tournament
Game Photo
St. John's

8 Wisconsin 80, 9 St. John's 70
2002 NCAA Tournament - First Round (East Region)
MCI Center • Washington, D.C. • Attendance: 18,770

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1st 2nd Final
 St. John's 31 39 70
38 42 80
 Statistical Leaders
 • Kirk Penney: 19 Pts, 5 Reb, 5-10 FG 
 • Freddie Owens: 14 Pts, 4 Reb, 5-7 FG
 • Devin Harris: 14 Pts, 4 Reb
 Stats at a Glance
 FG Percentage .429 .477
 3-Point FG Percentage .292 .600
 FT Percentage .789 .725
 Offensive Rebounds 11 7
 Defensive Rebounds 22 22
 Total Rebounds 33 29
 Turnovers 13 9
 Blocks 1 0
 Steals 4 8
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March 15, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bo Ryan had coached in plenty of NCAA tournament games, winning four Division III national championships at Wisconsin-Platteville. His first as a Division I coach was something special.

Using Ryan's trademarks of balanced scoring and taking care of the basketball, Wisconsin beat St. John's 80-70 Friday night in the first round of the East Regional.

"It's a great thrill," said the 54-year-old Ryan, the Badgers' third coach in as many years. "Personally, I've waited a long time to be in a game like this. I didn't say much about that to the players, but it sure is fun to be a part of it."

 Fast Facts
• UW used 12-0 run to take a 38-28 lead in 1st half
• Badgers did not trail following the half
• Wisconsin converted on 29 free throws

Kirk Penney scored 19 points to lead five Wisconsin players in double figures as the eighth-seeded Badgers prevailed in a game of runs.

The Wisconsin players knew what it meant to Ryan, who was the Big Ten coach of the year as a rookie, and to them.

"It's a big moment for all of us," senior forward Charlie Wills said. "He doesn't let us know a lot of things going on in his head and that's what a coach is supposed to do."

Freddie Owens added 18 points for the Badgers (19-12), while Devin Harris had 14 and Wills and Mike Wilkinson each had 10. The only other time Wisconsin was a No. 8 seed was in 2000, when the Badgers reached the Final Four.

The Badgers, one of the Big Ten's four co-champions, came up with the game's first run, 12-0, to take a 38-28 lead late in the first half and then answered every one the Red Storm (20-12) could muster.

Marcus Hatten had 28 points for St. John's on 12-of-33 shooting, including 3-for-13 from 3-point range, while Anthony Glover added 17 and Donald Emanuel 13. Only three other players scored for the Red Storm, who lost for the fourth time in six games.

"We seemed to take the first shot we had and that was to their advantage," Hatten said. "We made runs and then made the same mental mistakes again."

Glover hit a 3-pointer with less than a second to play in the first half to make it 38-31 and the Red Storm scored the first four points of the second half to get within three.

But Wisconsin scored the next eight points to go up 46-35 on a basket by Owens on a goaltending call with 16:13 to play.

St. John's went to a zone press and flustered the reliable ball-handling Badgers. The Red Storm went on an 11-2 run to get within 48-46 on two free throws by Eric King with 12:30 to play.

But then it was Wisconsin's turn as it scored 10 straight points to take what seemed to be a comfortable 58-48 lead with 8:39 to go.

The Red Storm had one last run in them, and got within 69-64 on a 3-pointer by Hatten with 2:57 left.

Wisconsin was able to close it out from the free-throw line for its seventh win in eight games.

"There were times we got away from doing the ordinary things and then when we did the little things better we went on those stretches," Ryan said. "As long as I've been coaching I've always wanted four, five, six guys in double figures. I like coaching teams that play that way."

The Badgers finished with nine turnovers, four below their season average and less than half of the 18.9 St. John's forced in a game this season.

"The key to us not turning it over was our poise," point guard Travon Davis said. "We stuck to our game plan and never got into a YMCA game that would have benefitted them more. We kept our poise and that's the way we like to play."

Hatten, who led the Red Storm in scoring with a 19.9 average this season, gave credit to the way Wisconsin defended him in the second half when he was 5-for-19 from the field.

"They didn't try to block my shot they just tried to blur my vision with a hand in my face," he said. "They did a pretty good job of that."

St. John's coach Mike Jarvis couldn't praise his junior guard enough. On Thursday, Hatten attended the funeral of his 91-year-old grandmother who raised him.

"On a bad night, Marcus Hatten is better than most people. The kid is incredible," Jarvis said. "In the second half it wasn't anything Wisconsin did. That was a person carrying 500 pounds of weight on his back for six months dealing with that and the death of his grandmother."

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