Electric fans help Wisconsin turn in dominant second half

Written By BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter Posted: 04/24/2014, 10:15am

MILWAUKEE — Oregon had to overcome both the second-seeded Badgers and their hometown crowd Saturday in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

The task proved to be too tough for the Ducks.

With an impressive second-half comeback, the Badgers overcame a 12-point deficit to earn an 85-77 victory and a berth in the Sweet 16.

The Badgers will play either Baylor or Creighton on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. It’s their third Sweet 16 in the last four years.

‘‘This is a tough environment for [Oregon], and they played really well,’’ Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. ‘‘But for our guys to have the regular season they had, [the seed] was definitely earned, and they earned something tonight, too. I’m really proud of them.’’

The game turned in the opening minutes of the second half when Traveon Jackson (16 points, eight rebounds) converted a three-point play and junior center Frank Kaminsky followed with consecutive baskets.

Kaminsky, a Benet product, scored nine of his team-high 19 points in a five-minute stretch to open the second half and rally the Badgers to within one at 55-54.

‘‘The crowd was unbelievable,’’ Kaminsky said. ‘‘They always seemed to get us back into it.’’

The lead changed several times, with the Ducks (24-10) going ahead 75-74 with 2:50 left on Joseph Young’s three pointer.

But senior Ben Brust (12 points) hit a three with 1:07 left, and the Badgers never trailed again.

‘‘We talked in the locker room that we had the ability to come back,’’ said Brust, who is from Mundelein. ‘‘Luckily we were able to do the things we had to in the last 20 minutes.’’

Young scored a game-high 29.

‘‘A really disappointing loss,’’ Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ‘‘We played pretty well the first half and had control of the game. We started the second half very poorly. We gave up easy baskets, which got the crowd into the game and the momentum switched. Once the momentum swung, we were in trouble.

‘‘We played Illinois in the United Center in 2002, but the crowd wasn’t like this. But Wisconsin earned the opportunity with a No. 2seed.’’

‘‘We knew we had to play some defense [in the second half],’’ Brust said. ‘‘It was a battle of wills and we did it together.’’

Email: tginnetti@suntimes.com

Twitter: @toniginnetti

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