NCAA Hoops: Northwestern goes down in Madison

NCAA Hoops: Northwestern goes down in Madison
February 28, 2011, 1:40 am
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Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011
Posted 7:39 p.m.

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin is perfect at home for the third time under Bo Ryan.

Jon Leuer scored 26 points and No. 12 Wisconsin beat Northwestern 78-63 in its regular-season home finale Sunday night, securing a perfect 16-0 record at the Kohl Center this season.

Jordan Taylor scored 16 points and Keaton Nankivil added 15 for Wisconsin (22-6, 12-4 Big Ten), which has won seven of its last eight overall. The Badgers finish the regular season with a pair of road games, at Indiana on Thursday and at Ohio State on Sunday.

Michael Thompson scored 19 and Davide Curletti added 18 for Northwestern (16-12, 6-11), which has lost two straight and four of its last six.

Wisconsin's student section chanted "Thank you, seniors" as Ryan emptied his bench in the final minute of the game. He's had three perfect home marks in 10 seasons with Wisconsin.

Northwestern seemed to be on the verge of being blown out at several points throughout the game, but managed to keep things close with strong outside shooting. The Wildcats made 11 of 21 3-pointers, with Thompson hitting five of six and John Shurna making four of seven.

Already leading by 13 at halftime, Wisconsin remained firmly in control to begin the second half - including a flashy play by Leuer, who snagged a sharp pass from Taylor out of the air and converted a two-handed reverse dunk to put the Badgers up 51-35 with 16:18 left in the game.

Northwestern relied on its outside shooting to keep the game within reach.

The Wildcats cut the Badgers' lead to 54-47 on a 3-pointer by Thompson with 12:25 left, and later cut the lead to 57-52 on a 3-pointer by Drew Crawford.

Northwestern finally hit a cold spell down the stretch, missing 3-pointers on critical back-to-back possessions. Taylor then nailed a 3-pointer on the other end, putting the Badgers up 63-55 with 5:35 left in the game.

Taylor later sealed the victory with another 3 to put Wisconsin up 70-59 with 3:00 left.

Wisconsin was coming off a last-second victory at Michigan on Wednesday, when Josh Gasser banked in a last-second three-pointer. Gasser had a triple-double in the Badgers' 78-46 victory at Northwestern on Jan. 23 but was a little more quiet on Sunday, scoring 10 points.

Northwestern was trying to rebound from a home loss to Penn State on Thursday night.

Wisconsin shot 65.4 percent from the field in the first half, but Northwestern managed to stave off a blowout by going 7-for-9 from 3-point range. The Wildcats trailed 43-30 at the half.

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