Wisconsin dumps Oregon to reach NIT semifinals


Max Klesmit scored 18 points and Chucky Hepburn added 12 as Wisconsin rallied past short-handed Oregon 61-58 in the quarterfinals of the NIT on Tuesday night in Eugene, Ore.

Hepburn’s 3-pointer put the Badgers up 59-57 with 56 seconds left. Oregon’s Nate Bittle hit the second of two free throws to make it 59-58 with 11 seconds remaining.

Klesmit sank two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to increase the lead to 61-58. Quincy Guerrier’s 3-point attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

Wisconsin (20-14) will face North Texas (29-7) in the semifinals on March 28 in Las Vegas. The Mean Green defeated top-seeded Oklahoma State 65-59 in overtime in the quarterfinals at Stillwater, Okla., on Tuesday.

Oregon (21-15) again was without its top three scorers, center N’Faly Dante (ankle), guard Jermaine Couisnard (shoulder) and point guard Will Richardson (hip).

Keeshawn Barthelemy had 15 points and Guerrier added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Ducks, who hit 5 of 11 3-point attempts in the second half after going 1-for-10 before the break.

The victory was Wisconsin’s third straight since a first-round loss in the Big Ten tournament. It was the 20th game of the season decided by five points or fewer for the Badgers, who improved to 13-7.

Wisconsin, which trailed by eight midway through the second half, went in front 56-55 on Klesmit’s 3-pointer from the right side with 1:40 left. Guerrier countered with a layup to put the Ducks up 57-56.

Tyrone Williams, Nate Bittle and Rivaldo Soares each drained a 3-pointers to fuel a 10-0 run that put the Ducks up 45-37 with 11:15 left.

The Badgers missed eight consecutive shots over a scoreless span of 3:57 before Klesmit hit two free throws to make it 45-39.

Wisconsin struggled to a 27-26 halftime lead, making just one of its final 11 shots. The Badgers, who entered first in the nation in fewest turnovers at 8.5 per game, committed eight before the break but just two in the second half.

–Field Level Media

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