Crowl, Wahl each score 21, Wisconsin beats Minnesota 71-67

MINNEAPOLIS -- — Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl each scored 21 points, Chucky Hepburn scored all his 12 points in the second half, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute, and Wisconsin kept alive its chances for an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament with a 71-67 win over Minnesota Sunday night.

Wahl was 8-of-11 shooting and Crowl made 9 of 13 from the field. Connor Essegian added 11 points for Wisconsin (17-13, 9-11 Big Ten).

Ta'lon Cooper stole the ball, went the other way for layup and hit the and-1 free throw for Minnesota to make it 62-all with 2:30 to play. Hepburn, near the top of the key, stepped around a screen from Wahl and drilled a contested step-back 3-pointer to give the Badgers the lead for good with 47 seconds left.

Max Klesmit and Wahl combined to go 4 of 4 from the free-throw line in the closing seconds to seal it for Wisconsin.

Dawson Garcia scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting for Minnesota (8-21, 2-17) and Braeden Carrington added 11 points and eight rebounds. Joshua Ola-Joseph scored 10 points and Cooper fouled out with eight points and eight assists.

Carrington hit a 3-pointer that gave Minnesota a seven-point lead with less than 11 minutes to play but Wahl and Hepburn each made a layup, Crowl converted a three-point play and, after Cooper scored inside for the Golden Gophers, Wahl backed Joshua Ola-Joseph under the basket and scored from point-blank range to make it 55-all with eight minutes remaining.

Crowl was fouled as he scored from the left block and hit the and-1 free throw to give Wisconsin its first lead of the second half and make it 58-57 with 6:33 to play. Garcia kissed an off-hand shot gently off the backboard just before the shot clock expired to put the Golden Gophers back in front 31 seconds later but Hepburn found a cutting Essegian for a layup and then Essegian made two free throws to give Wisconsin a 62-59 advantage with four minutes to go.

Freshman Pharrel Payne fouled out with nearly four minutes to play. The 6-foot-9 forward finished with five points on 2-of-2 shooting and grabbed three rebounds in 13 minutes.

The Golden Gophers shot 60% before intermission — their best shooting half of the season — and had 13 assists on 15 made field goals as they took a 39-26 lead when Jamison Battle hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Minnesota made 25 of 48 from the field and shot better than 50% in a game for just the second time this season. The Golden Gophers shot 55.1% (27 of 49) in a 72-54 win over St. Francis (N.Y,) on Nov. 11.


Wisconsin will be the No. 12 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and plays 13th-seeded Ohio State in the first round Wednesday

Minnesota, the No. 14 seed, plays No. 11 seed Nebraska in the first round


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