MADISON, Wis. (AP)—To Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, getting to the free throw line is simple.
You don’t get lazy on defense, you get the ball into the post and you’re aggressive going to the hoop.
The 15th-ranked Badgers have used that formula all season to make more free throws than their opponents have attempted, and Saturday’s 65-56 victory over Minnesota was no different.
Marcus Landry had 12 points to lead five Wisconsin players in double figures and the Badgers (21-4, 11-2 Big Ten) were 25-of-33 from the free throw line, 17-of-21 in the second half.
“I’ve been fortunate to get guys willing to buy into that for 30 years,” Ryan said of his formula. “That’s where I’m lucky or obstinate not to accept anything else. I don’t know which it is.”
Dan Coleman and Lawrence Westbrook scored 10 points each for the Gophers (15-9, 5-7), who were 12-of-20 from the free throw line.
Lawrence Westbrook’s 3-pointer put Minnesota up 41-38 less than 8 minutes into the second half. But the Badgers responded with a 14-4 run that included 6-of-7 shooting from the free throw line as they retook the lead 52-45.
After another 3 by Westbrook, Wisconsin reeled off a 9-0 run with all of the points coming from the line.
The Gophers were 10-of-23 from 3-point range (44 percent), well above their season average of 37 percent, but a series of missed layups and putbacks caused them to shoot just 25 percent from inside the arc.
Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said the offensive struggles sometimes turned into frustration fouls at the other end, but he declined to delve into the officiating. The Gophers were whistled for 25 fouls compared to 17 called on the Badgers.
Coleman and fellow post players Spencer Tollackson and Damian Johnson all had to sit for spells because of foul trouble, and Wisconsin outscored Minnesota 22-12 in the paint.
“There was a whistle blowing every time down the court,” Smith said.
Trevon Hughes, Michael Flowers and Brian Butch all scored 11 points for Wisconsin. Butch grabbed eight rebounds.
Jason Bohannon, who scored a career-high 18 points in Wednesday’s win at No. 13 Indiana, sprained his ankle in practice Friday and was listed as doubtful for the game. But he came off the bench to score 11 points, hitting all six of his free throws.
Wisconsin led 27-26 at halftime after Butch, whose banked 3-pointer in the final seconds beat Indiana on Wednesday, hit a 3 in the closing seconds.
Butch, who was 5-of-8 from the line, said he often hears others griping as he waits to shoot free throws. He said Wisconsin’s movement on offense and discipline on defense create the disparity that often shows up in the box score.
“Make sure you play defense the right way, and they won’t call fouls,” he said.