Illinois bolstered its NCAA Tournament chances by knocking off the Wisconsin Badgers 58-54 at the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals in Indianapolis.
The 13th ranked Badgers suffered through one of their worst shooting performances, hitting just 18% of their first half field goals and 28% for the game. On the flip side, Illinois converted 65% from the field in the first half and 52% for the game.
The Illini’s most potent weapon was center Mike Tisdale who scored 21 points on 8 of 10 from the field. Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer said they knew what to expect from Illinois, they just couldn’t stop Tisdale.
Demetri McCamey added 13 points as Illinois built a 16-point lead in the second half, only to see the Badgers make a furious comeback late.
Despite hitting just 6 of 33 shots in the first half, the Badgers hung around and climbed to within 2 in the final minute. They got a clean look at a 3-pointer from Jason Bohannon with a chance to tie, but the shot was errant. Head coach Bo Ryan said despite the poor offensive display, they almost pulled it out.
The Badgers (23-8) loss prevented Bo Ryan from collecting his 600th coaching victory. Trevon Hughes, who struggled early, led the Badgers comeback that fell just short. He tied Jon Leuer for team scoring honors with 14-points.
Wisconsin will put this loss behind them quickly and focus on their opponent in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They’ll get that assignment when the pairings are announced on Sunday.