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3/21 Big Ten Basketball Recap: Wisconsin Advances to NIT Semis

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NIT continued on Tuesday with Wisconsin heading out west to play at Oregon in the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Game of the Night

Wisconsin Badgers 61 Oregon Ducks 58

Entering the NIT the Badgers surprised some fans with an emerging offense in the opening two rounds of the tourney, scoring 81 points in the opener against Bradley and then 75 points against Liberty in the second round.

Unfortunately for Wisconsin their recent offensive explosion didn’t immediately translate in the first half, shooting 34.5% from the field, 25% from three and committing 8 turnovers. Defensively they struggled stopping Oregon inside, with the Ducks shooting almost 65% from inside the arc. Oregon couldn’t match that success elsewhere, though, shooting 1 of 10 from three and making only 1 of their five free throws. Oregon’s inability to hit from deep or at the free throw line allowed the Badgers to sneak into the break with a one point lead, 27-26.

In the second half Oregon found a bit of life from beyond the arc, hitting 5 of 11 from deep. They still couldn’t take advantage at the free throw line, finishing 4 of 12. A 10-0 run down the stretch gave the Ducks a lead in the second half before Wisconsin found just enough life to regain the lead at the tail end of the half and hold on after a desperation three didn’t land for Oregon.

Leading Wisconsin in scoring was Max Klesmit, who scored 18 points on 5 of 11 shooting and 6 of 7 from the free throw lie. Chucky Hepburn was the only other Badger to reach double figures, though he struggled from the field shooting 4 of 15. Wisconsin took advantage of 14 offensive rebounds, helping them get an eight shot advantage in a one possession game.

The Badgers will play again on the 28th in Las Vegas for the NIT Semifinals where they’ll face North Texas. North Texas has the slowest tempo rating in the country, setting up for a snail paced defensive slugfest a week from now.