MINNEAPOLIS -- It didn't matter that the Minnesota offense wasn't clicking Thursday night. Not with the way the Gophers played defense Thursday night in a 58-53 overtime victory over No. 20 Wisconsin.
Minnesota held the Badgers without a field goal over the final six minutes of regulation and the first 4:49 of overtime. By the time Wisconsin's Jared Berggren
scored a putback basket with 10.2 seconds remaining in overtime, the Gophers still led by three.
The Gophers outscored Wisconsin 15-6 over the final six minutes of regulation and the overtime session. The Badgers made one of their final 14 shots and turned the ball over four times in that 11-minute stretch.
The victory was important for Minnesota (18-7, 6-6 Big Ten) as the Gophers had lost two in a row and six of eight. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for No. 20 Wisconsin (17-8, 8-4) and didn't allow the Badgers to build on Saturday's win over Michigan. Andre Hollins
led Minnesota with 21 points while Austin Hollins
added 11 points and Rodney Williams scored 10. Sam Dekker scored 14 points to lead the Badgers while Ben Brust added 11.
The Gophers were the first to score in overtime when Andre Hollins gave Minnesota a 52-49 lead on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:37 to play. Trevor Mbakwe hit a pair of free throws with 1:32 to play in overtime, stretching Minnesota's lead to 54-49.
When Dekker made a pair of free throws with 1:20 to play in overtime, Wisconsin scored for the first time in more than eight minutes.
Minnesota got the game to overtime when Joe Coleman made a pair of free throws with 17.4 seconds to play, tying the game 49-49. Wisconsin had a chance to win the game on the final possession of regulation, but the Badgers didn't get a clean look at the basket. Traevon Jackson took an off-balance runner at the horn, but it didn't fall.
Minnesota made two field goals over the final 7:40 of regulation, but that was enough to extend the game. The Gophers closed within two, 49-47, when Austin Hollins found Williams for a dunk on a high-low post entry for a key basket with 1:52 to play.
The two teams traded the lead several times in the second half before Dekker twice hit 3-pointers that allowed the Badgers to regain the lead. The second gave Wisconsin a 43-41 lead with 8:33 to play. The two long-range jumpers started a 12-4 Badgers run. When Ryan Evans made one of two free throws with 5:08 to play, Wisconsin stretched its lead to six, 49-43.
The Badgers, however, wouldn't score again in regulation.
After falling behind by five early in the second half, Minnesota used a 9-2 run to take its first lead of the game. When Andre Hollins made a pair of free throws with 13:48 to play, the Gophers led 35-33.
The Badgers looked as if they were going to take a sizable halftime lead on the Gophers. When Evans made a 17-footer with 2:46 to play in the half, Wisconsin led 24-14 over a Minnesota team that made only four of its first 20 shots.
Minnesota, however, scored the final eight points of the half. After the Gophers took a timeout in the final minute, Hollins buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with six seconds to play, cutting Wisconsin's lead to 24-22.
As expected in this game, both teams struggled to get much offensive flow in the first half. Even with the late flurry, Minnesota shot only 32 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes and Wisconsin shot 36 percent. The Gophers have scored more than 25 points in only one of their past seven halves against Wisconsin.
NOTES: Wisconsin is the only team in the country that has two wins over teams ranked in the nation's top four, defeating Indiana and Michigan. ... The Badgers have won 20 of the past 26 games against Minnesota. Bo Ryan has a 16-5 record against the Gophers. ... Williams returned to action and started against the Badgers. He missed Sunday's loss to Illinois with a shoulder injury. ... Ranked No. 8 nationally on Jan. 7, Minnesota is one of two teams ranked in the top 10 that week that have fallen all of the way out of the top 25. Missouri is the other. ... Starting with Sunday's game against Ohio State, the Badgers will play three of their next four at home. ... Minnesota plays its next two on the road -- at Iowa and at the Buckeyes.
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