Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Wisconsin Fourth-Quarter Run Turns Tables on No. 22 Illinois

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Wisconsin Fourth-Quarter Run Turns Tables on No. 22 Illinois

Article excerpt

With just over 9 minutes to play Sunday, 7-foot-1 center Meyers Leonard glided away from the basket and hit a soft, fadeaway jumper that gave No. 22 Illinois a four-point lead over Wisconsin. It appeared at the time - playing in front of a loud, sellout crowd - the shot gave the Illini the momentum, too. But the Badgers answered with a 7-0 run, the last shot a fast-break layup by Ben Brust that put the Badgers up 53-50 and silenced the crowd as the Wisconsin bench erupted with shouts.

Illinois (15-5, 4-3 Big Ten) never led again and fell 67-53, its second straight loss. "They went on that 7-0 run," said Leonard, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. "It was kind of a turning point in the second half. This is one we let slip away, that's for sure."

The Illini lost at Penn State and then at home to unranked Wisconsin since their upset of then-No. 5 Ohio State landed them briefly in first place in the Big Ten. Badgers coach Bo Ryan, whose team started the day in sixth place in the conference, said his team had to scrap for its fourth straight win after three consecutive Big Ten losses.

"We have to do those things to be successful," he said. "We don't strike fear in a lot of hearts when we show up." Jordan Taylor led Wisconsin (16-5, 5-3) with 19 points, including seven from the free-throw line.

Jared Berggren had 18 points for the Badgers and it was his defense that limited Leonard's opportunities.

Joseph Bertrand added 15 points for Illinois. Taylor started the 7-0 run with a short jump shot, followed by Mike Bruesewitz's 3- pointer and Brust's fast-break layup.

It was Bruesewitz's 3-pointer with 7:42 left in the game that typified the scrappy play Ryan talked about.

Brust initially missed from long range after a turnover by Brandon Paul, but Berggren lunged toward the sideline in front of the Wisconsin bench to pick up the rebound, feeding it back to Brust and, eventually, the ball found the open Bruesewitz on the opposite side of the court.

The Badgers finished with 10 second-chance points. "They made the plays and you have to give them credit," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "They out-toughed us and out-hustled us. …

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