The Wisconsin Badgers played their way to the NIT Semifinals on Tuesday with a win at Oregon Stadium.
The Badgers are moving on to the Final Four!
But hey, another layup in the final minutes resulted in another Badger nailbiter win against the Ducks.
Wisconsin Badgers won Oregon Ducks 61-58 on Tuesday night in the NIT Quarterfinals, extending their season by at least another week.
After barely holding a 27-26 halftime lead, the Badgers entered a hotly contested second half.
The team shot only 34.5% from the field in a choppy first half, and they struggled to finish the run. The Badgers also made 8 turnovers and only made 1 field goal in the final 8:32 of the half as well.
To make matters worse, the Ducks only had 6 blocks in the first half with 5 of them coming against Tyler Wahl.
The beginning of the second half wasn’t much better.
During the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Badgers shot 17% from the field combined for just 10 points. This resulted in a 45-37 deficit with 9:40 left in the half.
However, they were eventually able to regain the lead with 1:45 remaining after three-point jumper Max Klesmit.
Oregon forward Quincy Guirier followed that up with a quick out of a timeout to retake the lead 57-56.
On the next possession, the Ducks came out of another time zone play timeout which initially confused the Badgers, however, a big pass across the field from Tyler Wahl to Chucky Hepburn led to the biggest shot of the game as Hepburn sank a massive three. to give the Badgers a 59-57 lead with 0:58 remaining.
From there, the Badgers would ice the game at the free throw line and hang on to win 61-58 on the road.
Max Klismit finished with 18 points as the leading scorer, and Hepburn had 12 points on 4-15 shooting as well.
Once again, the Badgers shot very well from the free throw line, hitting 12 of 13. What was once a weakness turned into a strength in the postseason with the team shooting nearly 85% from the line.
This was the Badgers 20th game of the season decided by five points or fewer, and they extended their record in those games to 13-7 on the season, the most in D-1.
Although the Badgers only shot 33.3% from the field, the team was able to hold on through solid defense and powerful shots in the closing moments.
The Badgers also outscored the Ducks 44-35, which included 14 offensive rebounds. As is typical, Crow led all players with 10 rebounds. It wasn’t another dominant offensive performance from Stephen Crowell, but Klismet was there to take over the offense in the second half and keep the Badgers season alive.
The team is now heading to Las Vegas for their first semi-final appearance. They will play North Texas on March 28th in what should be a tough game. North Texas comes off with wins against Alcorn State, Sam Houston, and Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State was the first team on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
During what was a tough season, it was exciting to see the Badgers wrap up games again the way they should have been able to at the end of the regular season.
After back-to-back wins against strong competition, the Badgers are more than capable of winning the NIT title. And they should go into the semi-finals with that mentality.
Let’s go to Vegas baby!
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