The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (19-10, 12-6 Big Ten) followed up their impressive win on the road at Michigan earlier in the week with yet another gritty home win in a redemption game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-15, 7-11).
The game was a dogfight throughout, as it included 17 lead changes and eight ties — leaving the Badger faithful on the edge of their seats from the opening tip.
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Daniel Oturu made a big impact for the Gophers in the first half by converting on six of his 11 shots from the field for a total of 12 points. Oturu also collected six rebounds and had two massive blocks to keep the Gophers within three points of the Badgers at the break.
In the second half, the Badgers maintained the lead up to the 9:21 mark before Minnesota tied the game, 49–49.
The final few minutes were nothing but excitement at the Kohl Center. The Badgers found themselves down two points with just over a minute left in the game.
After a scramble for the ball, Brevin Pritzl knocked down a clutch three-pointer off an assist from D’mitrik Trice to give the Badgers a 67–66 lead with just 56 seconds left to play.
On the ensuing possession, Oturu knocked down a mid-range jumper over Nate Reuvers to retake the Gopher lead, 68–67.
Trice found Aleem Ford on the Badgers’ next possession, delivering a perfect pass to allow Ford to finish an emphatic two-handed slam dunk to regain the lead — which the Badgers would not give up for the rest of the game.
Reuvers closed the game with a strong defensive stand, including a block on Oturu with 11 seconds left to play in the game. The Badgers would win by a score of 71–69, with Oturu missing an attempt from beyond half-court after the buzzer sounded.
Brad Davison led the way for the Badgers with 20 points and five assists. Pritzl finished with 15 points.
Oturu dominated for the Gophers, finishing with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Marcus Carr finished with 21 points and four of the Gophers’ six assists.
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With the win, the Badgers improve to 12-6 in conference play and remain in a three-way tie for second place in the Big Ten. After Maryland’s defeat to Michigan State over the weekend, the Terrapins are now 13-5 in Big Ten play, holding just a one-game lead over Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin. Each team has two games remaining — making for an interesting final week of the regular season.
The Badgers will remain in Madison for a Wednesday matchup at the Kohl Center, as they look to extend their winning streak to seven when they take on the Northwestern Wildcats in their final home game of the season.