MILWAUKEE (AP) – In a test of tempos, Wisconsin delivered the knockout punch.
Ben Brust hit a 3-pointer with 1:07 left and the second-seeded Badgers overcame seventh-seeded Oregon’s transition game for a thrilling 85-77 win Saturday night to get into the Sweet 16.
Brust’s clutch 3 from the corner gave the Badgers (28-7) the lead for good in a clash of styles played before a boisterous pro-Wisconsin crowd at the anything-but-neutral Bradley Center.
Traevon Jackson followed with three free throws, but missed one with 21 seconds left to give the Ducks (24-10) one more chance to tie trailing by three.
Oregon gave it to Joseph Young, who had made big shots all night and scored 29 points. But he missed a rushed 3 from the wing, and the Badgers sealed it at the foul line.
The red-clad fans erupted into a deafening roar. Their beloved Badgers are back in the NCAA regional semifinals for the first time since 2012. They will play Baylor or Creighton in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday.
Frank Kaminsky led the way with 19 points, Jackson finished with 16 and Brust had 12.
Left off-kilter by the Ducks transition game early and trailing by 12 at the half, the Badgers hustled back in the second half to answer the Oregon charge and frustrate their foes in the half court.
That pace played more their liking. Buckets in the lane by Kaminsky, a jump-shooting 7-footer, and coach Bo Ryan’s gritty guards set the tone inside, and later helped open up the perimeter.
As had often happened during the night, Young had an answer. His 3 from the wing with 2:50 left to give Oregon a 75-74 lead.
The Badgers hustled for offensive rebounds on their next possession. Off a timeout, Ryan re-inserted Brust, who was saddled with four fouls.
The senior delivered in a huge spot. Young couldn’t deliver one last time.
Jason Calliste had 20 points for Oregon, which set the tone early with in-your-face defense and an aggressive offense.
Wisconsin found its groove by attacking the basket, a plan that has worked all year long when the team has been having problems. Sam Dekker added 12 points and eight rebounds in another typically balanced effort.
In the first half, it was Oregon dictating tempo in setting a breakneck pace.
The Ducks quieted the sea of fans in a hurry, attacking on offense at nearly every opportunity and flustering Wisconsin. The frustration peaked when the Badgers bench was whistled for a technical foul near the end of the first half after arguing a call.
Oregon pounced in the first 20 minutes. Sometimes it was Calliste driving to the bucket to draw fouls. Other times it was Young hitting mid-range jumpers.
Then Wisconsin found its way in the second half.
Despite the disappointing ending, Oregon had regrouped quite well since a midseason stretch of eight losses in 10 games.
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