Achievements of the Year: Back-to-back B1G basketball wins

BTT

July 3, 2013

Badgers Knock Off Michigan Small Video Graphic  |  UW Shocks Indiana, Again Small Video Graphic

Over the course of two weeks, UW Athletics will look back on the Badgers' biggest accomplishments during the 2012-13 season.

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Prior to the 2013 postseason, the Wisconsin men's basketball team was issued long-sleeve red adidas shirts with the words `RISE TO THE OCCASION' printed on the front.

In back-to-back games at the United Center in Chicago last March, the Badgers lived up to the slogan.

Playing the role of underdog, UW dispatched two of the nation's - let alone the Big Ten's - top teams, knocking off Michigan and Indiana to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game.

In Friday's quarterfinal contest, No. 4 Wisconsin may have owned a higher seed than the Wolverines, but Michigan's No. 6 AP ranking and the Badgers' sluggish start suggested Big Blue would be getting payback for the Badgers overtime win at the Kohl Center a month earlier.

UW trailed, 20-17, at intermission after shooting an icy 17 percent from the field. However, the final 20 minutes were the exact opposite.

The Badgers poured in 51 points in the second half, shot 61 percent (6-for-9 from 3-point range) and raced to a 68-59 win. Junior Ben Brust, who was the hero in UW's earlier win over Michigan, scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, while sophomore Traevon Jackson scored 16 points and Ryan Evans added 12.

"Just a great team effort," head coach Bo Ryan said after the win over the eventual national runner-up. "Guys picked each other up. They didn't get frustrated when the shots weren't going down in the first half. We took care of that in the second half, and continued to hustle on defense."

One day later, Big Ten regular season champion Indiana awaited UW, looking to avenge a 64-59 home loss to the Badgers on Jan. 15.

Revenge would have wait at least another year.

For an astonishing 12th-consecutive time, the Badgers beat Indiana, equaling the longest all-time winning streak (and the longest since 1914) against the Hoosiers.

Trailing 22-16 midway through the first half, the Badgers ripped off a 10-0 run capped by triples from Brust and Mike Bruesewitz, to gain a lead. Wisconsin would extend that cushion into a 34-31 halftime edge.

The second half would remain tight as Indiana pulled within one at 50-49 with 9:45 remaining. But what unfolded during the final 10 minutes was a clinic in Wisconsin precision. IU would score just seven more points as Wisconsin made three of its last four shots and sealed the convincing 68-56 win at the free throw line.

Senior Ryan Evans scored 16 points in a terrific all-around performance, while Brust added 12 points and Sam Dekker scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, including seven in a row during one impressive burst.

Wisconsin's hot streak would burn out in the championship game when the Badgers faced their third top-10 team in as many days, falling 50-43 to No. 10 Ohio State.

On the season, the Badgers compiled a school single-season record seven wins over AP top-15 teams, with the final two coming on back-to-back days of the Big Ten tournament.

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