Wisconsin survives late Penn State run to advance at the Big Ten Tournament

Wisconsin held off a desperate late run from Penn State to claim a 75-74 win in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday night in Indianapolis.

The Badgers led by 16 points with 5:13 left but would score just two more points the rest of the way as the Nittany Lions made a furious comeback, eventually getting a possession with the chance to win the game in the final seconds. But Nate Reuvers came up with a steal of a Sam Sessoms pass, and Brad Davison saved the ball and called timeout with 0.8 remaining before falling out of bounds to effectively seal the win.

Penn State’s push at the end of the game was needed because Wisconsin’s offense was firing for much of the night, especially from beyond the arc. After hitting seven of their 13 3-pointers in the second half against Iowa last Sunday, the Badgers came out and hit 12 of 23 attempts against the Nittany Lions. Aleem Ford hit a career-high five 3-pointers, including one at the end of the first half to help Wisconsin take a 10-point lead at the break. Reuvers, who hadn’t hit a 3-pointer since Feb. 14, drilled two before halftime.

Ford finished with 17 points to lead the way, while Davison had 15 points, including going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Jonathan Davis had 10 points and gave Wisconsin its biggest lead at 66-48 with a monster one-handed dunk.

Wisconsin shot 46.3% for the game, the second-straight outing they’ve been above 46% after doing that just once in their previous 14 games. They were largely good with the ball, turning it over just eight times, while handing out 18 assists, tied for the most against a Big Ten team this season. D’Mitrik Trice had nine assists, which matched a career-high.

Sessoms had 18 points for Penn State, which ended up shooting 48.3% for the game, but just 7-for-20 from beyond the arc. Myreon Jones had 11 for the Nittany Lions, while Jamari Wheeler came up with 10.

The Badgers are now 26-19 all-time at the Big Ten Tournament and have won at least one game in eight of the last nine tournaments. They now advance to face third-seeded Iowa in the quarterfinals on Friday. The Hawkeyes swept the season series, winning by 15 in Madison and by four last Sunday in Iowa City.