Wisconsin wins free-throw battle late, edges Minnesota

Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl each scored 21 points, and Wisconsin held off Minnesota from the free-throw line in the final minute for a 71-67 victory Sunday night in Minneapolis.

Max Klesmit’s free throw put Wisconsin in front 67-64 with 14 seconds left, but the Gophers missed two of their next four free throws, leaving the Badgers up 67-66.

Klesmit hit two free throws to make it 69-66 with 7.4 seconds left. Jamison Battle hit 1 of 2 free throws for the Gophers, but Wahl closed it out with two more from the line with 3.8 seconds remaining.

Wahl and Crowl, both Minnesota natives, combined to make 17 of 24 shots and pull down seven rebounds apiece for Wisconsin (17-13, 9-11 Big Ten). The Badgers have participated in 22 of the last 23 NCAA Tournaments, but likely need two wins in the Big Ten tournament to get a bid.

Dawson Garcia had 19 points and Braeden Carrington 11 for Minnesota (8-21, 2-17).

Chucky Hepburn, who sat out the last 15:40 of the first half due to foul trouble, hit a 3-pointer to put Wisconsin up 65-62 with 47 seconds left. After a Minnesota miss, Hepburn hit the second of two free throws to make it a two-possession game.

Crowl converted a three-point play that capped a 7-0 run to bring Wisconsin even at 53-53 with just under nine minutes remaining.

Connor Essegian hit two free throws to finish a 7-2 run that put the Badgers in front 62-59. Ta’lon Cooper turned a steal into a three-point play to bring the Gophers even at 62-62 with 2:37 left.

Minnesota hit its final four shots of the first half, taking a 36-29 lead on Battle’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Gophers shot 60 percent before the break, making 15 of 25 shots, including 4 of 10 from beyond the arc.

–Field Level Media