MADISON, Wis. (AP)—Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan credited the crowd with helping to keep the Badgers’ home winning streak alive.
Kam Taylor scored the go-ahead basket with 37.3 seconds left and Wisconsin scored the final 11 points Sunday, beating No. 15 Michigan State 62-59 and extending the longest home winning streak in Division I to 38 games.
Ryan called the crowd the “X-factor” and said the fans were the loudest he had ever heard at the Kohl Center.
The Badgers (12-3, 3-1 Big Ten) rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final 1:55.
“We sucked in some of that energy,” Ryan said. “That’s encouraging to your players. The fans really hung with us on that one.”
Clayton Hanson scored 15 points and Sharif Chambliss had 14 to lead Wisconsin, which improved to 26-0 in Big Ten home games under Ryan. Mike Wilkinson added 12 points, including four during the closing run.
“We got down by eight and there’s some places I know where I’ve seen people start to leave a game because they wanted to beat the traffic,” Ryan said. “If they left (today), I don’t know where the extra noise came from.”
Ryan improved to 6-0 against Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. T-shirts circulating in Wisconsin this week read, “Bo 5, Izzo 0,” and Izzo grew tired of talking about the Spartans’ losing streak to the Badgers.
“Hey, look on the bright side, some shirt guy can now put 6 and make some money,” Izzo said.
Paul Davis scored 20 points to lead Michigan State (10-3, 2-1), which had its 53-game home winning streak snapped by the Badgers on Jan. 12, 2002. For a while Sunday, it appeared the Spartans would return the favor.
Davis hit a jumper with 2:49 left to give Michigan State a 59-51 lead, its biggest in a game it led much of the way. But Wisconsin began to chop away as Chambliss hit his fourth 3-pointer with 1:55 left, making it 59-54. Wilkinson then hit a pair of free throws with 1:39 left and two more with 1:14 left to make it 59-58.
Taylor gave the Badgers the lead with a runner in the lane with 37.3 seconds left. Zach Morley made two free throws with 9.3 seconds remaining to push Wisconsin’s lead to 62-59, and Shannon Brown’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds circled the rim before missing.
“I shot it so good,” Brown said. “It went in and then out. It felt good coming off my hand.”
Hanson, who hit five of Wisconsin’s 12 3-pointers, thought Brown’s shot was good.
“All the games and crazy things that happen just kind of flash through your head. It bounced around and I thought for sure, overtime,” Hanson said.
Four games of Wisconsin’s six-game winning streak over Michigan State have been decided by four points or less, and the Spartans haven’t beaten the Badgers since a 51-47 victory at the Kohl Center on Feb. 27, 2001, Wisconsin’s last Big Ten home defeat. The Badgers haven’t lost at home since Dec. 4, 2002, a 90-80 loss to Wake Forest.
Sunday, the Spartans had several chances to put the Badgers away but couldn’t pull it off. They failed to score in the final 2:49, including two misses on the front end of bonus free throws.
“Until were able to make plays down the stretch offensively and defensively to win games like this, we’re not going to be the team we want to be and not going to go where we want to go,” Michigan State’s Chris Hill said.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, was nearly flawless down the stretch.
“We never panicked,” Wilkinson said. “We knew what we needed to do on both ends of the court and it worked out for us.”
Izzo dismissed worries that the losing streak is about anything other than good basketball.
“There’s no jinx, there’s no this, there’s no that. I’ve been beaten by better teams, I’ve been beaten by worse teams,” he said.