Wisconsin 79, Penn State 74 (OT): Last word

Wisconsin won its second straight road game, earning a 79-74 win in overtime at Penn State on Wednesday night.

Player of the Game: Tyler Wahl

It’s been a struggle for the senior forward since returning from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury, and coach Greg Gard made it clear after the last game that he believe Wahl had more to give. Well, he was obviously right, as Wahl delivered one his best games of the season. He scored 10 points in the first half and 16 for the game, while coming up with six rebounds. Wahl added a career-high eight assists, including a beautiful find to Steven Crowl in overtime for a layup. He even went 4-for-6 from the free throw line, a jump up from the 48% he had been shooting in Big Ten play.

The good: Contributions from everywhere

Wisconsin got contributions up and down the lineup to pull out the win. Chucky Hepburn delivered 19 points and went 5-for-9 from deep, including a huge 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left in regulation to give the Badgers a 68-65 lead. Connor Essegian dropped 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting, while Crowl had 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists despite being limited to 24 minutes. Max Klesmit continued his tough defense and had a great left-handed layup in overtime to make it a two-possession game with 44 seconds left. Even the bench helped out, as Jordan Davis posted eight points and five rebounds, and Carter Gilmore played some big minutes late when Penn State went small and forced Crowl out of the game.

The not so good: Another run

Basketball is a game of runs, but it seems Wisconsin always seems to give them up at inopportune times. On Wednesday, it was when the Badgers led by seven with 8:08 left. Over the next 3:39, Penn State went on a 13-3 run to take a 3-point lead. However, unlike some of the previous runs the team has endured this year, they didn’t flinch. They fought and found a way to win a game they desperately needed.

Stats of the Game:

52.8% — That is what Wisconsin shot from the field. It was the highest percentage of the season and the Badgers best since hitting 54.4-percent in a win over Louisville on Dec. 19, 2020.

9 — That is how many 3-pointers Penn State hit on the night. The Nittany Lions came into the game averaging nearly 11 per game. They hit two in the first half and seven in the second but went 0-for-5 in overtime.

5 — That is how many straight wins Wisconsin has over Penn State. The Badgers have just three losses to the Nittany Lions since 2004.

In Case You Missed It

— The win moved Wisconsin into sole possession of 10th place in the Big Ten and just one game back in the win column of five teams with seven games to play.

— Wisconsin is not flying back to Madison before heading to Lincoln. Gard said they’ll head to Nebraska tomorrow in advance of Saturday’s matchup with the Huskers.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (14-9, 6-7) will visit Nebraska (11-14, 4-10) on Saturday.