Badgers take Big Ten lead with win over Rutgers

Johnny Davis scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, and No. 13 Wisconsin took over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten Conference with a 66-61 victory over Rutgers on Saturday night.

Brad Davison added 14 points, Chucky Hepburn had 13 and Tyler Wahl had 11 as the Badgers (23-5, 14-4) opened a game lead in the conference over No. 4 Purdue, which lost to Michigan State earlier in the day.

Wisconsin will host Purdue on Tuesday, and the Badgers won the earlier meeting.

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Geo Baker had 16 of his 19 points in the second half to lead Rutgers (16-12, 10-8), but missed a game-tying 3-point attempt with four seconds to play.

Ron Harper Jr. added 15 points for the Scarlet Knights, who have now lost three in a row after a four-game winning streak — all against ranked teams.

Trailing by 11 at the half, Rutgers rallied in the final 20 minutes and took its first lead at 51-50 on a foul-line jumper. The lead changed hands before Davis, who was frustrated by non-calls most of the game, drove the lane for a layup with 5:39 to play for a 56-55 edge. Hepburn would add a 3-pointer less than a minute later and Wisconsin led 59-55.

A layup by Wahl after a free throw by Rutgers' Cliff Omoruyi made it 61-56, but Rutgers never got closer than 63-61 after Harper hit a 3-pointer with 28 second to play. A free throw by Wahl five seconds later gave Rutgers on last shot, but Baker missed it.

Wisconsin built a 33-23 halftime lead, and it was Davison and Hepburn who carried the load. Davison hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points, while Hepburn had 10. The Scarlet Knights made only nine baskets in first 20 minutes and did not make a 3-pointer. They also missed four free throws, with two at the front end of a one-and-one opportunity.

Big picture

Wisconsin: Will likely get a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Rutgers: Needs a win or two next week to assure itself a second straight NCAA trip.

Up next

Wisconsin: Hosts No. 4 Purdue on Tuesday.

Rutgers: At Indiana on Wednesday.

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