Wisconsin pulls out an overtime win in a barnburner with state rival Marquette

The Marquette-Wisconsin men’s basketball rivalry typically delivers high drama.

It happened again Saturday at Fiserv Forum.

In a tension-packed and physical game in front of a sellout crowd of 17,760 fans, the Badgers survived with an 80-77 victory in overtime.

UW (6-2) had better poise and execution than MU (6-3) down the stretch in overtime. The Badgers won for the first time in Fiserv Forum, after falling in overtime in 2018 during the Golden Eagles' first season in the building and then a tip at the buzzer in 2020.

"The last time I was in here, I got a sick feeling in my stomach losing on that buzzer-beater," UW's Tyler Wahl said. "I know we were not going to come in here and lose."

Box score: Wisconsin 80, Marquette 77 (overtime)

Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn fires up a three-pointer in overtime Saturday against Marquette at Fiserv Forum.
Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn fires up a three-pointer in overtime Saturday against Marquette at Fiserv Forum.

Chucky Hepburn makes winning plays for Badgers

Chucky Hepburn scored 19 points to lead four double-digit scorers for the Badgers. He left the game for a large chunk of the second half with an injury but returned with seven minutes to play. His biggest play came in the waning seconds of overtime when he found Max Klesmit for the go-ahead basket with 3.5 seconds left.

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"I've been preparing for it," Hepburn said. "Working out every day. Through that shooting slump I've been working out and getting a lot more shots up and I think it's just paying off now."

Marquette had two chances at full-court inbound plays after timeouts, but Tyler Kolek's heaves were picked off by Wisconsin, including one by Wahl, who hit a free throw for the final margin.

Wisconsin forward Tyler Wahl hits a free throw in overtime Saturday.
Wisconsin forward Tyler Wahl hits a free throw in overtime Saturday.

"We got to find the right guy to make that pass and that catch," MU head coach Shaka Smart said. "We've worked on that some in practice, but nowhere near enough. And that's my job to find who it makes sense to make that pass.

"And they defended it well. We were just trying to throw the ball to half court so we could have a little bit of time because there was only 3.5 and then 2-something seconds left."

Smart also lamented his team's defense on Hepburn's assist to Klesmit. The Golden Eagles' three losses have come in their close games this season.

"We always say solid on defense, take care of the ball and make your free throws," Smart said of his team's late-game execution this season. "The team that does that at the end of the game has a greater chance to win.

"So it was a couple times we weren't solid enough. Wahl drove by us and laid the ball up. Their last basket, we had Hepburn trapped over on the side. And he's a heck of a player, man, I can't say enough about how much he impacted this game. Obviously he was out for a while and then came back.

"But you got to keep him over there. At one point, we had three of our defenders trying to guard him and he was able to turn the corner. So we got to be more solid on defense, for sure."

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Wisconsin shoots 69.6% against Marquette's defense in first half; Kam Jones sparks MU's offense with 26 points

Hepburn wasn't the only one with a hot start, with Wahl also not missing a shot and scoring 11 points as UW rolled to a 41-30 lead at the break. Wahl finished with 15 points.

UW shot 16 for 23 (69.6%) in the first half, including 7 for 13 on three-pointers.

The Badgers extended the lead to 46-30 early in the second half, but then MU started chipping away.

Kam Jones scored a college-high 26 points to lead the Golden Eagles, including a step-back three-pointer that tied the game in overtime before Klesmit's shot.

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"It sucks because we fought," Jones said. "They shot the ball in the first half. Came out in the second half and played much better defense and much more aggressive.

"It just sucks. We fought hard, it's just a play here and a play there."

MU battled back to take lead at 68-67 on Stevie Mitchell's fast-break layup with 1:52 remaining in regulation.

After forcing a turnover by UW, the Golden Eagles' Olivier-Maxence Prosper missed a good look at a three-pointer. That opened the door for Hepburn to knock down a triple to grab back the lead.

The Golden Eagles managed to get Oso Ighodaro open for a dunk on a baseline-out-of-bounds play to tie the game with 22 seconds on the clock.

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Hepburn missed a contested three in the waning seconds of regulation.

Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn (23) and forward Tyler Wahl are fired up in the game against Marquette Saturday.
Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn (23) and forward Tyler Wahl are fired up in the game against Marquette Saturday.

Wisconsin holds a 70-59 advantage in the series with Marquette

MU and Wisconsin have been playing since 1917, and the Badgers hold a 70-59 advantage in the series.

The teams have no played seven overtime games.

"A heck of a college basketball game," UW coach Greg Gard said. "And really at the root of why these two institutions continue to do this is that right there. It's great for the state of Wisconsin. It's great for growing the game and putting the spotlight on our state and basketball in our state."

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin beats Marquette in overtime 80-77 at Fiserv Forum