Page last updated on Tue May 21 13:36:12 EDT 2013
03/10/2013 9:38 PM EDT
No. 22 Wisconsin holds off Penn State 63-60
WISCONSIN 63, PENN ST 60
By GENARO C. ARMAS
AP Sports Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Maybe Traevon Jackson made his
buzzer-beating 3-pointer because Penn State forgot he was
left-handed. Or maybe it's because of the free run Jackson had
to his spot on the left wing.
What the Wisconsin guard cared about most was that the bucket
allowed the 22nd-ranked Badgers to survive an upset scare from
Penn State and win its regular-season finale 63-60 Sunday.
"It felt good. When the shot comes off your hand like that ... I
just kind of knew it was going to go in," the sophomore said
coolly after the game, headphones draped around his neck.
The Badgers (21-10, 12-6) escaped Happy Valley with a
hard-fought victory against the Big Ten's last-place team and
stopped a two-game losing streak that dropped them out of
contention for the conference title.
Jackson's shot might have been the break the Badgers were
looking for heading into this week's Big Ten tournament. In the
locker room after the game, freshman Sam Dekker (14 points) told
teammates the victory could be a "mojo-shifter."
"After losing two straight, we got down on ourselves," Dekker
said. "That will hopefully be a momentum-shifter for us going
into the Big Ten tournament."
They got another break later Sunday when Michigan lost to
Indiana. The Wolverines and Badgers ended up in a fourth-place
tie in the Big Ten - but Wisconsin got the fourth seed and the
last first-round bye in the league tourney based on its win over
Michigan this season.
Jackson finished with 15 points. Jermaine Marshall had a
game-high 23 points for Penn State (10-20, 2-16), while D.J.
Newbill added 22, including a jumper with 5 seconds left to tie
the game at 60.
"We earned the right to win this one. That's why this one
hurts," a solemn coach Patrick Chambers said. "To lose on that
type of (ending) ... you feel for them."
After Newbill's bucket, Wisconsin nearly threw the ball away on
the ensuing inbounds but managed to hold on in the scrape on the
floor after the officials called a tie-up.
Jackson took some of the blame for that near-turnover. He said
he was too far from teammate Mike Bruesewitz to get a clean look
at the inbounds play.
But he did make a clean catch on the next inbounds.
The Nittany Lions pressed, but Jackson said he went unguarded in
a dash up the left sideline to his spot on the left wing. Penn
State's Kevin Montminy lunged with an outstretched arm, but it
was too late.
Officials held up the shot upon review, and the anxious fans at
the Jordan Center let out a collective sigh of disappointment.
"We can't get a better shot like that on an out-of-bounds play
... He knew and there was no hesitation," Wisconsin coach Bo
"Also (Jackson) is left-handed. That was the advantage."
Chambers liked what he saw, too, from his guys.
"Give Jackson credit. Tough shot," Chambers said. "I thought
Kevin did a good job contesting."
Poor second-half play doomed Wisconsin in its previous two games
- defeats to Purdue and Michigan State.
This time, Jackson and the Badgers held on down the stretch,
though there were plenty of harrowing moments.
The Badgers turned the ball over on an inbounds under their own
basket with less than 25 seconds left, giving the Nittany Lions
another chance to tie.
Newbill missed a long jumper, but Nick Colella corralled the
rebound and found Newbill again. The sophomore guard did a
stutter-step before pulling up for the tying bucket.
Seconds later, Jackson made his 3 that had his Wisconsin
teammates pumping their arms in victory.
"We just did 25 to 30 of those same situations (in practice)
about a week ago," Ryan said. "Now the ball still has to go in.
It's a tough shot ... but they know the drill."
The Badgers entered Sunday a game back of Michigan, Michigan
State and Ohio State with a chance to pull into a second-place
tie in the Big Ten - if those other three teams lost, too.
The Buckeyes and Spartans each won, but Michigan's loss led to
Wisconsin's gain in the jockeying for Big Ten tournament
Penn State will play fifth-seeded Michigan on Thursday. The
Nittany Lions might have been locked into the last seed, but
they still challenged Wisconsin. They're 2-2 since starting 0-14
in conference, and the tough play extended into the
regular-season finale at an energized Jordan Center.
After starting 5 of 6 from the field, Penn State tightened up
defensively to hold the Badgers to 5 of 21 the rest of the first
half. The Nittany Lions' one-two guard punch of Marshall and
Newbill each scored 10 for a 25-24 halftime lead, and the game
settled into a see-saw affair the rest of the way.
"I don't think we started the game with a sense of urgency,"
Chambers said. "But we definitely picked it up after the first
Foul trouble hurt Penn State in the closing minutes though. The
Nittany Lions had trouble scoring with Marshall on the bench
with four fouls until re-entered with about three minutes left
and scored Penn State's next four points to stay within one
possession of the lead.
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP
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