Ryan Evans jumps when he shoots free throws. Ben Brust looks as if he just got his driver’s license, and Mike Bruesewitz’s shaggy hair draws snickers every time Wisconsin goes on the road. The Badgers may not look like a top team, but they sure play like one.
Evans scored 16 points in a terrific all-around performance and No. 22 Wisconsin upset No. 3 Indiana 68-56 in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament Saturday.
“We’re playing our best basketball at the end of the season, and that’s what you want to do,” Bruesewitz said.
The Badgers allowed only seven points after the top-seeded Hoosiers pulled within one with 9:45 left. They earned their 12th consecutive win against Indiana, tying a record for any school against the powerhouse program, and will play Ohio State in Sun-day’s final.
“There are just things in this game, no matter how you try to explain them, they defy explanation,” Coach Bo Ryan said, shrugging away Wisconsin’s long run against Indiana. “But we have players who are willing to work, to listen, to buy in.”
Brust added 12 points for Wisconsin (23-10), which has won three straight and six of eight. Sam Dekker scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, including seven in a row during one burst.
Christian Watford scored 14 points for Indiana (27-6), and Cody Zeller had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Victor Oladipo scored 10, but was 4-for-12 from the field.
Ohio State 61, Michigan State 58: Aaron Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead No. 10 Ohio State past No. 8 Michigan State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Craft sparked a seven-point spurt midway through the second half that stretched the lead to eight at 55-47, and the Buckeyes (25-7) came away with the win after the Spartans (25-8) pulled within one. The victory avenged a loss in last year’s championship game.
Kansas wins Big 12 finals
Jeff Withey had 17 points and nine rebounds, Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe added 12 points each, and the No. 7 Jayhawks pounded the No. 11 Wildcats 70-54 to win their ninth Big 12 Tournament championship.
The top-seeded Jayhawks (29-5), who shared the regular-season title with their in-state rival, took a 24-16 lead at halftime and then slowly stretched it in the second half.
ACC semifinals North Carolina 79, Maryland 76: Dexter Strickland and Reggie Bullock scored 15 points apiece and North Carolina held on to beat Maryland.
P.J. Hairston scored 13 points despite a heavily wrapped and injured left (non-shooting) hand for the third-seeded Tar Heels (24-9), but his missed free throw with 16 seconds left gave Maryland a chance to force overtime.
The Terps called time with 10.9 seconds left, and Logan Aronhalt took the inbounds pass and immediately launched an off-balance 30-foot airball.
Miami 81, N.C. State 71: Durand Scott scored a career-high 32 points to help No. 9 Miami beat North Carolina State, earning the Hurricanes their first trip to the championship game.
Shane Larkin added 23 for the top-seeded Hurricanes (26-6), who led the entire way and by 19 points late in the first half. Miami shot 46 percent behind Scott, a senior guard who went 12-for-18 from the field and 5-for-8 from long range.
Atlantic 10 semifinals No. 25 VCU 71, UMass 62: Troy Daniels made six three-pointers to score 20 points, and No. 25 VCU (26-7) advanced to the Atlantic 10 Tournament title game in its first season in the conference.
Saint Louis 67, Butler 56: Dwayne Evans nearly set a career high in points for the second straight game, and No. 16 Saint Louis’ (26-6) defense locked down Butler (26-8) in the second half.
Evans had 24 points and 11 rebounds a day after going for 25 and nine in the quarterfinals against Charlotte.
Memphis wins C-USA title
Chris Crawford scored 23 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer in double overtime, and No. 20 Memphis beat Southern Miss 91-79 to win its seventh Conference USA Tournament title in the past eight years.
Akron wins MAC crown
Demetrius Treadwell scored 13 points and top-seeded Akron, its season nearly wrecked by a player suspension, beat Ohio 65-46 to win the Mid-American Conference championship and the league’s automatic spot in the NCAA Tournament.
One week ago, the Zips (26-6) were in danger of seeing a special season crash when point guard Alex Abreu was arrested on drug trafficking charges. But Akron’s players rallied around Coach Keith Dambrot and the Zips, playing in their seventh straight MAC title game, are back in the NCAA brackets for the third time in five years.
Georgetown makes Fab 4
Georgetown went on a 12-2 run to finish the game and pull off an 86-82 win over Culver-Stockton (Mo.) in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division I tournament. The Tigers (26-8) advance to Monday night’s Fab Four and will play LSU-Shreveport, which knocked off top-seeded Columbia (Mo.) 79-78 Saturday.
Trailing 80-74 with 4:28 left, the No. 13-seeded Tigers held the Wildcats (26-9) without a field goal for the rest of the game as they took charge of the game.
Monty Wilson’s 18-footer capped the rally, giving the Tigers the lead at 84-82 with 30.4 seconds remaining. Wilson finished with a team-high 23 points, including four three-pointers.
Div. II Bellarmine advances
Bellarmine saw an 18-point lead evaporate down the stretch but held on to beat Indianapolis 67-61 in the first round of the Division II Mid-west Regional.
The Greyhounds (20-9) tied the game at 57 with 2:35 remaining, but the Knights (23-7) got key defensive stops while hitting 10 of 12 free throws in the last 2½ minutes to seal the victory. Bellarmine (23-7) was led by Chris Dowe and Vance Hall with 13 points apiece.