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Wisconsin wins 15th straight home game vs. Penn State

The SportsXchange

MADISON, Wis. -- It has been a long time since Penn State last won a road game -- nearly two years -- and even longer since the Nittany Lions last won a game in the state of Wisconsin.

Those streaks will continue after Penn State came close but not close enough, losing to the Badgers 60-51 on Thursday in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams.

Penn State has lost 15 straight road games to the Badgers and has never won at Kohl Center, where Wisconsin is 85-9 against Big Ten opponents under coach Bo Ryan.

"We have to be used to being in tight games," Penn State coach Pat Chalmers said. "It's great to come here and be in a tight game, but we need to take the next step and earn the respect of the league. This would have been a great start, but unfortunately we're going home with a loss."

Wisconsin (9-4, 1-0) won its second in a row despite a poor shooting night. The Badgers made just 22 of 57 shots (38.6 percent) and were 3 of 17 (17.6 percent) on 3-point attempts. Free throws, normally a Wisconsin strong point, were a problem, too, as the Badgers hit just half of their 26 attempts.

Scoring 17 points off 15 turnovers helped the Badgers overcome a Nittany Lions offense that shot 53 percent in the second half and created some tense moments.

"We have to get tested like this, in these kind of games," Ryan said.

Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans and Ben Brust led the Badgers with 13 points each. Mike Bruesewitz scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and pulled down eight rebounds while playing 25 minutes in his second game back after missing two with a concussion.

His four free throws in the final minute helped seal the victory for Wisconsin (9-4, 1-0).

"We're going through some growing pains," Bruesewitz said. "As a front line, we have to pick some stuff up. We're fortunate to have one of the best bigs in the country (in Berggren). It helps when you have that. He was the best player on the floor."

Jermaine Marshall led Penn State with 19 points. D.J. Newbill, still getting acclimated to a starting role after Tim Fraizer was lost for the season with an Achilles injury, left an impression with 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

"For his first Big Ten game, on the road, I think he handled himself well," Chalmers said.

The game featured a slow start for both teams. Berggren put Wisconsin ahead 6-0 with a layup at the 18:08 mark. The Nittany Lions came back and took their first lead with 14:02 to play on Newbill's layup.

Borovnjak gave Penn State a 14-10 lead with 9:57 left in the first half but Wisconsin responded, using a 19-4 run to close the half and enter the intermission with a 29-18 lead.

During that stretch, Penn State committed five of 10 first-half turnovers and went 2 of 10 from the field, shooting just 37.5 percent for the half. Wisconsin didn't fare much better, shooting 35.3 from the field and making just one of 11 3-point attempts.

Trailing by 14, the Nittany Lions tried to cut into Wisconsin's lead midway through the second half with a 9-0 run. Brust stopped the rally with a three-point play to make it 43-36 and Bruesewitz extended the lead to 46-38 on the Badgers' next possession, putting back his own miss with 8:40 to play. His 3-pointer a minute later put Wisconsin up by nine.

Penn State got within four on Taylor's 3-pointer with 5:57 to play. The Badgers came up empty on their next three possessions and Marshall's jumper at 3:40 cut the Wisconsin lead to 49-47.

Marshall came through again, getting the Nittany Lions within a point on a jumper with 2:52 to play, but after Wisconsin went back up by three on Evans' basket, Marshall was whistled for traveling with 2:11 left. The Badgers stretched the lead to five on their next possession and finished the game on a 6-2 run.

NOTES: Wisconsin is 10-0 in Big Ten Conference openers under Ryan. ... The Nittany Lions have lost 15 consecutive games at Kohl Center and haven't won a conference road game since March 6, 2011. ... Berggren leads the Big Ten with 28 blocks. ... Penn State had scored at least 72 points and had at least 12 assists in its last four games entering Thursday's game. ... The Badgers have held opponents to under 60 points in their last 17 home games.
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