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Gophers Rally Late, Top Badgers 58-53 In OT

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Andre Hollins hit the go-ahead 3-pointer midway through overtime to finish with 21 points and lead Minnesota to a 58-53 victory over No. 20 Wisconsin on Thursday night.

It was third straight game Wisconsin went to overtime.

Austin Hollins added 11 points for the Gophers (18-7, 6-6 Big Ten), who held the Badgers without a basket for about 11 minutes until Jared Berggren’s putback with 10 seconds left in the extra period. Hollins went 4 for 4 from the free throw line over the final 18 seconds of overtime to seal it.

Sam Dekker scored 14 points and Ben Brust added 11 for the Badgers (17-8, 8-4). They were 7 for 28 from 3-point range, negating their 18 offensive rebounds, and scored a total of four points over the last 10-plus minutes of the game.

Ryan Evans missed all five free throws he took in that stretch.

Hollins hit his big shot with 3:38 remaining to give the Gophers a 52-49 lead. Trevor Mbakwe, who grabbed two huge rebounds in the closing minutes, tacked on two free throws to stretch the lead to five with 1:32 left.

The game was tied at 43 with just inside 8 minutes left, but the Badgers locked down their defense after that. Leading 49-45, they forced Andre Hollins into an off-balance 3-pointer that missed at the shot-clock buzzer. Rodney Williams, back on the court after missing the last game with a shoulder injury, caught a lob pass and dunked to cut the lead to two with 1:52 on the clock. Williams finished with 10 points.

Mike Bruesewitz, the bushy-haired senior and lanky Minnesota native, had quite the sequence in the closing seconds. He missed a long 3-pointer but drew a charge against Austin Hollins with 22.6 seconds left on the other end to get the ball back. On the inbounds play, he moved his feet and was called for a violation.

The Gophers regained possession, Joe Coleman made both free throws with 17.4 seconds to tie it, and Traevon Jackson’s runner in the lane bricked off the back rim.

The Badgers were brimming with momentum, after beating then-No. 3 Michigan last weekend when Brust made a half-court shot to tie the game at the end of regulation. That came on the heels of the double-overtime win over Iowa. And not that long ago, they went to Indiana and came away with a five-point victory.

Cracking The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since mid-November, Wisconsin was in position to keep moving up and sweep rival Minnesota for the second straight season.

The Gophers weren’t ahead until 13:48 remained in the game, when Andre Hollins made two free throws for a 35-33 lead. Two minutes later, Mbakwe spun out of the post and threw down a baseline dunk to make it 37-35, igniting the home crowd. For the first time in weeks, the Gophers appeared to be playing with confidence when they had the ball.

The Gophers needed to win this in the worst way, after losing six of their last eight games and falling into sixth place in the conference. Ranked as high as eighth in the AP poll just one month ago, they’ve found themselves with a lot of work to do down the stretch to secure that NCAA tournament spot.

They lost 45-44 last month in Madison when Williams missed the back end of one-and-one free throws with 1.8 seconds left.

The pace of the first half was predictably slow and the score was expectedly low, as most games these Badgers play go. They missed a prime opportunity to build a big lead after smothering the Gophers over the first 10-plus minutes, allowing only four points.

The Gophers missed 12 of their first 14 shots, and the two makes were dunks. They went nearly 6½ minutes without scoring until Austin Hollins found a crease and sank a pull-up jumper in the lane to cut the lead to 12-6. Mbakwe was all but taken out of the offense, hounded by Jared Berggren and the Badgers’ lane-clogging defense. Mbakwe was called for traveling once and three seconds in the lane to end another possession.

The Gophers guarded well enough themselves to stay in the game, though. Without any room to cut or drive, the ability to hit those outside shots became even more paramount. Bruesewitz, Jackson and Brust each made 3-pointers before halftime, but the Badgers missed 10.

On the other end, Austin Hollins sank one for the Gophers, and Andre Hollins hit two, none more important than his stutter-step launch from the top of the key with 8 seconds left that brought Minnesota within 24-22.

About a minute before that, Austin Hollins soared into the lane to pull down a rebound of Joe Coleman’s miss with one hand, then flip his put-back in off the glass to cut the lead to five.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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