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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Wisconsin basketball loses 61-63 against Purdue on Senior Night in the Kohl Center on March 2, 2023 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Clutch shooting boosts Wisconsin to tournament win

The two-seeded Badgers downed the Ducks on the road to earn a trip to Las Vegas for the NIT Final Four.

In the quarterfinal round of the NIT, Wisconsin (20-14) traveled to the West Coast to take on Oregon (21-15). With a trip to Las Vegas for the semifinals on the line, the Badgers erased a late six-point deficit to pull out a late win, 61-58.

In the first half, the Badgers started hot with baskets from their starters, including Chucky Hepburn and Tyler Wahl. Oregon, who has been stricken with injuries late in the season, relied on guard Keeshawn Barthelemy, who led the Ducks with 15 points and six rebounds. 

As has been the case in the latter half of the season, the bench play of Jordan Davis, Carter Gilmore and Kamari McGee has been crucial to the Badgers’ success, as the three of them combined for eight points and 11 rebounds. 

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Wisconsin basketball loses 61-63 against Purdue on Senior Night in the Kohl Center on March 2, 2023 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Late free throws from Wahl broke a two-minute scoring drought and gave Wisconsin a 26-25 lead at halftime. 

Coming out of the break, Max Klesmit began to heat up with four early points on his way to a game-high 18 points — his second highest tally of the season behind his back-to-back 19 point performances against Michigan and Purdue. 

Oregon knocked down a series of shots to build a lead that reached eight points, but the persistent shooting from Klesmit, accompanied by a slam from Hepburn, helped the Badgers pull back to within four. 

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Wisconsin basketball defeats Bradley 81-62 in the National Invitational Tournament in Kohl Center on March 14, 2023 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Oregon’s Barthelemy finished two layups shortly after, but 3-pointers from Connor Essegian, Hepburn and Klesmit put Wisconsin in control of the game with a two-point lead with less than a minute remaining in the game. Klesmit iced the Ducks with two free throws and secured the 61-58 win to send the Badgers to Las Vegas.

Wisconsin will face the two-seeded Mean Green of the University of North Texas, who enters the matchup after a massive win over the top overall seeded Oklahoma State, in the semifinals of the National Invitational Tournament. Tipoff is on March 28 for a shot at the championship game.

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