Déjà Vu of Alando Tucker 2005
You might be a little too young to remember, but the play you saw Ben Brust convert a last-second miracle on was actually used successfully once before.
The date: Mar. 12, 2005.
The place: The United Center and the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
The opponent: Iowa.
With 3.7 seconds remaining in the game and the score knotted at 56, point guard Kammron Taylor cut hard inside looking for the inbounds pass. However, Taylor didn’t receive the inbound pass. Instead, it was star forward Alando Tucker on the secondary-option cut, driving the ball down the right sideline the length of the court, beating defender Adam Haluska and hitting a leaning three-pointer, banking in the shot and giving the Badgers the victory.
In reference to the shot, Tucker said following the game that, “We practice situations like that all the time to prepare for situations like this, game situations.”
Apparently, practice hasn’t changed much in the past several years, as Saturday afternoon senior forward Mike Bruesewitz inbounded the ball in a very similar set play.
“That was not the first time I’ve made that pass,” Bruesewitz said of his inbound pass to Brust. “We’ve done that in practice before, we practice stuff like that. It does a good job of preparing us.”
“I knew where we were going with the ball.”
Good thing, too, considering the first option on the play, sophomore point guard Traveon Jackson, was blanketed by a defender and would have caught the ball much deeper on the floor than Brust.
“Trey [Jackson] cleared the traffic out but the best thing was Mike’s pass,” Wisconsin head coach Ryan said. “Right on the dime, on the run, (Brust) didn’t have to reach back for it, he was able to catch it all in one motion.”
Both teams botch foul situation in waning seconds of regulation
One of the questions Ryan was faced with by ESPN color commentator Dan Dakich following the conclusion of Wisconsin’s overtime win was the classic of a late game situation.
“Why down the stretch were you not fouling?”
Dakich was referring to Michigan’s final possession of the second half, where the Wolverines’ Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a contested three-point jumper in the face of Bruesewitz to give his team a 60-57 lead with just 2.4 seconds remaining.
With Michigan’s Trey Burke holding the ball for the final shot in the waning seconds, Ryan elected not to foul and disrupt the Wolverines’ set, even though his team had three fouls to give. Burke stopped and handed it off at the right wing to Hardaway, who used a screen from freshman forward Mitch McGary to get just enough separation to hit a three right in Bruesewtiz’s face.
“Mike [Bruesewitz] actually reached in,” Ryan said in the postgame press conference. “If you look at the replay Mike reached in on the handoff, no call and [Hardaway Jr.] was still able to hit that three. That was a tough three.”
Just a second later Brust caught the ball and heaved up his desperation three, beating Michigan defender Caris LeVert to the right sideline to escape with just enough room to release the shot.
It was a play Michigan head coach John Beilein wanted his team to foul on, since they had two to give before Wisconsin reached the bonus.
“We were trying to foul,” Beilein said. “That was the instruction coming out, ‘We have two fouls to give, go foul.’ He turned the corner on Caris and he couldn’t get it done in time.”
“We definitely wanted to foul and keep everybody in front of us but [Brust] turned the corner on him just enough where he couldn’t foul him and that was the whole idea. With Caris’s quickness we thought he could get there but he didn’t.”
Ryan decides to gamble on Evans
With his team up by three in the final seconds of overtime and set to inbounds the ball under its own basket, Ryan decided to make a surprising move that drew the groans and ire of many fans inside the Kohl Center.
Ryan pulled out offensive weapon Sam Dekker in a sure-fire foul and free throw situation for a struggling Ryan Evans, a player who entering the game was shooting just 42 percent from the line and had already gone one-of-four from the charity stripe against Michigan on the day.
Evans was promptly fouled after catching the inbound pass and proceeded to miss the first of a one-and-one, giving the Wolverines an opportunity to tie the game.
Ryan, who asked Evans upon inserting him in the Iowa game this past week if he was ready to go in and shoot free throws, didn’t have a conversation with his forward. He simply said, “Go make them, Ryan.”
“I can’t have him so brainwashed to believe he’s not going to make them,” Ryan said as a reason for inserting Evans. “Plus, look at the hard cut he made [to get the entry pass on the inbounds play]. He’s the guy who can go get the pass.”