Wisconsin Badgers beat Penn State in closing seconds 51-49
MADISON, Wis. - Tyler Wahl made a tiebreaking layup with 30.5 seconds left to give No. 11 Wisconsin a 51-49 victory over Penn State on Saturday that extended the Badgers’ home winning streak in the series.
After Myles Dread’s layup with 51 seconds remaining capped a 9-0 run to tie the game for Penn State (9-10, 4-7 Big Ten), Wahl’s basket put Wisconsin back ahead.
Wisconsin (18-4, 9-3) still had two fouls to give and used both of them over the next 24 seconds. With 6.1 seconds left, Penn State’s Jalen Pickett threw an inbounds pass to Dread, whose deep 3-pointer bounced off the back rim as Wahl pulled down the rebound.
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The Badgers have won their last 21 home matchups with Penn State, which hasn’t beaten Wisconsin in Madison since a 78-67 victory on Jan. 26, 1995. Wisconsin owns a 42-11 lead in the series and has won 16 of the last 17 meetings overall.
Wisconsin won this one despite getting little production from All-America candidate Johnny Davis, who shot 2 of 13 and scored just four points.
Steven Crowl had 13 points and a career-high five assists for Wisconsin, which also got 12 points from Wahl and 10 from Chucky Hepburn. Sam Sessoms scored 14 to lead the Nittany Lions.
Penn State’s issues this time began well before it arrived in Madison.
A delay in the arrival of the team's charter plane meant the Nittany Lions couldn’t leave State College, Pennsylvania, until Saturday at 1:45 p.m. EST. The Nittany Lions landed in Madison at 2:30 CST, about 2½ hours before the scheduled tipoff.
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Those travel problems may have explained the sluggish start to this game.
Wisconsin led 18-13 after an ugly first half in which the teams shot a combined 21.3% (13 of 61) from the floor, 9.1% (2 of 22) from 3-point range and 42.9% (3 of 7) from the free-throw line.
The Nittany Lions missed 19 of their first 20 shots and scored just three points in the first 12:57. Penn State had a scoring drought that lasted nearly 10½ minutes.
Both teams heated up in the second half.
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Penn State erased an early 12-point deficit and took a 35-34 lead on Sessoms' 3-pointer with 9:13 left. After Wahl briefly put Wisconsin back ahead, Sessoms' basket and Greg Lee's 3-pointer gave Penn State a 40-36 lead with 7:42 to play.
Wisconsin responded with 13 straight points to regain the lead. Crowl sank two 3-pointers and had a pair of assists during that spurt.
But Penn State answered with a surge of its own, setting up Wahl’s big play in the final minute.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions' travel issues this weekend capped a tough stretch in which they've rarely played at home. Penn State has played four of its last five games on the road and has played just one home game – a 90-86 double-overtime triumph against Iowa on Monday – over the last 3½ weeks. Penn State does play five of its next seven games at home.
Wisconsin: The Badgers showed they could win even when they're not getting much from Davis or Brad Davison, who scored nine points and shot 3 of 10. But the lack of offense is concerning. Wisconsin has shot 9 of 45 from 3-point range over its last two games. ... The Badgers improved to 11-1 in games decided by six points or fewer.
After losing at Illinois and struggling to beat Penn State this week, Wisconsin figures to drop a few spots in Monday's Top 25.
Wisconsin: At No. 13 Michigan State on Tuesday.
Penn State: Hosts Michigan on Tuesday.