Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Men’s basketball breakdown: Wisconsin vs. Oregon

Max Siker

It wasn’t pretty, but the Wisconsin men’s basketball team gritted its way to a 72-65 victory over Oregon to advance to its fourth Sweet 16 in five seasons.

No other team has gotten there as often in that time span as the Badgers.

Wisconsin never trailed in the game, and it seemed as if they could cruise against the Ducks, getting out to an 11-point lead (20-9) 10 minutes into the game. That lead quickly dissipated before halftime, as the Badgers carried a slim 31-28 margin into the locker room.


The teams battled back and forth in the opening minutes of the second half, and then UW redshirt sophomore guard Zak Showalter rattled off five points in a row to give his team an eight-point cushion (45-37) with 10:46 remaining.

Then, it was Oregon’s turn to deliver a punch. The Ducks went on a 10-3 run to cut the Badgers’ lead to one. With 5:54 left, Oregon Dwayne Benjamin nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 52.

Five straight points from junior forward Sam Dekker put the Badgers back on top for good, as the Badgers clutch free throw shooting in the final minute sealed the win. In the final 1:03, Wisconsin made 10-of-12 from the charity stripe to silence any chance for an Oregon rally.

Turning Point

With the game tied at 52 and fewer than 62 minutes left, Oregon had the Badgers backed into a tight corner. But there to deliver the pivotal punch was Sam Dekker.

With 5:02 left, Kaminsky — from the high post — found Dekker cutting along the baseline. Dekker avoided the oncoming, potential shot blockers with a sweet up-and-under and a kiss off the glass.

On the next possession, which followed a Wisconsin timeout that negated a Dekker alley-oop, Dekker drained a three with four minutes to go, making it 58-52 Wisconsin.

When You Knew It Was Over

As Wisconsin found out the hard way, there was simply no way of putting Oregon away for good Sunday night.

But Badgers fans were finally able to exhale after Kaminsky swallowed an offensive board off a Nigel Hayes missed free throw and laid it right back in. The bucket gave Wisconsin a 66-56 lead with 47 seconds remaining.

It was Wisconsin’s first double-digit lead since 9:54 in the first half.

Wisconsin Player of the Game: Sam Dekker

When Wisconsin needed a boost, Dekker was there to provide it. He scored a team-high 17 points, 14 of those coming in the second half.

Dekker shot 3-of-8 from three-point range, but his shots from behind the arc came at pivotal points in the game. Dekker finished the game 6-of-12 from the field, demonstrating his ability to score inside and outside.

Dekker also pulled in five rebounds and added a block in 33 minutes.

Oregon Player of the Game: Joseph Young

It was a one-man show for the Ducks. Young poured in 30 of the Ducks’ 65 points on 12-25 shooting.

Young was instrumental in bringing the Ducks within striking range at halftime, scoring nine of the final 14 Oregon points before the half.

Had another Duck emerged as a scoring threat Sunday night, there’s a real possibility the Ducks would have knocked off the Badgers. The only other Oregon player in double-digits was Jalil Abdul-Bassit (12).

But Young couldn’t do it alone, and his team’s season ended at the hands of Wisconsin.

Next Up: North Carolina

The Tar Heels advanced to their first Sweet 16 in two seasons, having been bounced in the Round of 32 for two consecutive seasons.

The four-seed in the West Region, UNC got there after pulling out a nail-biter against thirteen-seed Harvard, 68-66, in the Round of 64 and an 87-78 win against Arkansas in the next round Saturday night.

Led by junior guard Marcus Paige (14.9 points per game), North Carolina (26-11) finished fifth in the ACC regular season standings and was the runner-up in the conference tournament, falling to Notre Dame in the championship game 90-82.

What would have happened if … ?

With the 11-minute mark looming, Kaminsky fired a pass from the left wing to Showalter at the top of the key. Wide open, Showalter pulled the trigger and drilled a three-pointer to make it 43-37. During the next offensive possession, Showalter hit a layup to increase the Badgers lead to eight.

Until that point, the Badgers and the Ducks had traded points coming out of halftime. The push from Showalter gave Wisconsin enough cushion to stave off the final Oregon push for the win.

The three was Showalter’s second made attempt from downtown and his first make from beyond the arc since Jan. 20 against Iowa.

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