Huskers Upset Wisc 77-68/Earn 4-seed in Big Ten Tournament
Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway scored 26 points apiece, and Nebraska beat No. 9 Wisconsin 77-68 on Sunday night to bolster its resume for an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.
The Cornhuskers (19-11, 11-7) won for the 10th time in 12 games to clinch fourth place in the Big Ten for their highest conference finish since 1997-98. The Badgers (25-6, 12-6) had their longest conference win streak since 1940-41 end at eight games.
Shields made a couple free throws, Ray Gallegos hit a 3 and Shields dunked in transition to start a 12-1 run that turned a 52-48 deficit into a 60-53 lead with 5 minutes left.
By the time it was over, Nebraska's student section had emptied and the party had started on the court.
Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin with 14 points. Nigel Hayes added 12, Josh Gasser had 11 and Ben Brust finished with 10.
The Huskers, looking for their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998, picked up a second win against a top-10 team for the first time since 1993-94. Their other one was at then-No. 9 Michigan State on Feb. 16. The Huskers won 11 conference games for the first time since 1965-66.
Nebraska also finished with a Big Ten-best 15-1 home record by defeating the conference's best road team.
The game was billed as "No-Sit Sunday," with coach Tim Miles imploring fans to stay on their feet the whole game. The amped-up sellout crowd of 15,998 at Pinnacle Bank Arena lived up to the occasion, helping the Huskers beat Wisconsin for the first time in five meetings since they joined the Big Ten three years ago.
Walter Pitchford added 15 points for the Huskers.
On top of a Nebraska defense that held Wisconsin to 43-percent shooting, the Badgers struggled at the free-throw line, making just 11 of 21.
The Badgers went on a 7-0 run spanning halftime to build a 40-33 lead. But Nebraska bounced right back. Shields had a three-point play and Petteway made a strong move to the hoop during an 8-2 spurt that got the Huskers to 42-41.
Nebraska grabbed a 47-46 lead when Benny Parker, the Huskers' 5-foot-9 defensive pest, grabbed the ball away from Traevon Jackson and Shields hit a short jumper.
Kaminsky's 3-pointer put the Badgers back in front, but the Huskers then put together their decisive run.
The stage was set for a big night at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Gallegos and fellow senior Mike Peltz were honored, with Peltz taking the festivities to the next level when he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend at center court with his teammates jumping around behind him. She said yes.
Miles narrated a video tribute to the fans and, for the first time, the team ran onto the court through a fog machine. A card section was set up in the south end zone, with students raising a giant red "N'' against a white backdrop before tipoff.
The Huskers rode the amped atmosphere an early lead. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was forced to call a timeout after Petteway's 3-pointer put Nebraska up 13-6.
Wisconsin responded with a 9-2 spurt that Hayes started with a couple baskets and Brust finished with a jumper and a 3 to tie it at 15. The lead changed five times before the Badgers went into halftime with a 35-33 advantage.