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Wisconsin 68, Indiana 56

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Ryan Evans led a balanced attack with 16 points as Wisconsin earned a berth in the Big Ten championship game with a surprising 68-56 semifinal victory over regular season champion Indiana on Saturday.

Wisconsin (23-10) kept Indiana at arm's length through the final 4:43 minutes, going 11-for-17 from the free throw line to pad their margin.

The Badgers earned their fifth all-time title game appearance and will meet Michigan State or Ohio State at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Ben Brust had 12 points, and Jared Berggren and Sam Dekker each added 11 for the Badgers in front of a packed house at United Center.

Indiana (27-6) was paced by Christian Watford's 14 points. Cody Zeller had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Victor Oladipo added 10 points.

While Wisconsin was hitting free throws, Indiana went three full minutes without a field goal in the late going until Jordan Hulls scored with 33.8 seconds to play.

It was Wisconsin's second victory of the season over Indiana. The Badgers claimed a 64-59 road decision on Jan. 15.

Both teams worked much on the first half inside the paint, but Wisconsin went long distance later as it built a 34-31 lead after 20 minutes.

The Badgers trailed most of the opening half, but jumped ahead with 6:24 showing when Brust picked up a lose ball and bolted down court to drain a 3-pointer for a 23-22 edge.

It was the first of four Wisconsin 3-pointers over the next 3:58. The last, by George Marshall with 2:26 showing, opened a 34-28 lead. Indiana replied with Zeller's jumper and Watford's 3-pointer in the final minute to trim the deficit.

Evans paced Wisconsin with 10 first half points, while Watford and Oladipo had eight apiece for Indiana.

Berggren opened the second half with a dunk, but most of the next six minutes belonged to Indiana, which used a 10-0 run to temporarily climb back ahead.

An alert Oladipo had a steal and a layup to tie the score, 40-40, and another Wisconsin turnover led to two free throw tries for Remy Abell, who hit the second for a 41-40 lead.

Dekker broke a 43-43 tie with seven points over the next 50 seconds, including a 3-pointer and a driving layup with 11:11 showing for a 50-43 Badger lead.

Indiana made another run to cut the lead to 52-49, setting the stage for the decisive final six minutes.

NOTES: Wisconsin, which reached the Big Ten semifinals for the second straight year, also recorded its fourth win over a Top 10 team. The Badgers now have a school record seven wins over Top 25 teams this season. ... It was a tale of two halves on Friday vs. Michigan, as Wisconsin had a season-low 17 points and hit 17.2 percent in the first half, and then collected a season-high 51 points and 60.7 percent shooting in the second. ... No. 3 ranked Indiana, regular season champions and the top Big Ten tournament seed, will make the NCAA tournament with a high seed but saw its chances for a top seed vanish with Saturday's loss. ... The Hoosiers are 7-1 against nationally ranked teams and 5-0 versus Top 10 teams on the road. ... Indiana coach Tom Crean is 87-81 through five full seasons, but 54-15 since the start of 2011-12. ... The Hoosiers have been ranked nationally for 31 consecutive weeks, the most since Indiana went 71 straight weeks from 1989-94. ... The Big Ten coaching fraternity lost one member Saturday when Northwestern fired Bill Carmody after 13 seasons and a 192-210 overall record, four NIT appearances but none in the NCAA tournament.

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