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January 3, 2012

Time runs out on Badgers




MADISON -- Wisconsin simply ran out of time. Again.

One night after the clock ran out on Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, time was not on the Badgers' side Tuesday at the Kohl Center, either.

As the buzzer sounded, Ryan Evans appeared to have hit a game-tying 3-pointer to force double overtime against Michigan State. But upon further review, replays showed that Evans did not get the shot off before time had expired, and the Badgers lost, 63-60.

"In our review on the monitor, the clock clearly showed zeros while the ball remained in the Wisconsin player's hands," said referee Pat Driscoll.

"The other thing we have to keep in mind is to whether it was a two or a three, because it was very, very close. Those were the two things we looked at."

Despite the shot being waived off, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan was impressed with the awareness and effort of Evans to get the shot off, and put it in for three points that would have tied it.

Neither Ryan nor the players had watched the replay before speaking with reporters after the game, but while they thought Evans had got the shot off in time, the Badgers also respected the call by the officials.

"The thought was, 'Grab the ball and get a shot off as quickly as possible,'" Evans said. "I guess I wasn't able to get it off quick [enough]. But we'll bounce from it. It's a tough loss, but we're still looking forward."

Asked about what his understanding was of the game's final play, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo compared it to his team's regional final win over Kentucky in 2005.

In that game, the Spartans came out on top after two extra periods, sending them to the Final Four, but not before Wildcats guard Patrick Sparks made an incredible shot at the end of regulation to extend the game.

"I don't know what happened at the end, and nor do I care," Izzo said. "I thought we played well enough to win. And that's the way I'm going to look at it."

For the Spartans, the win was their first at the Kohl Center over the Badgers during the Ryan era.

With that in mind, Izzo saw particular significance in his team's road victory, its 14th in a row overall. Considering few other Big Ten teams are likely to win at the Kohl Center this season, Izzo thought their win was "worth two."

Ryan, on the other hand, did not look at the loss any differently than any other.

"What are you going to do?" Ryan said. "Violence is out of the question. They all sting to me. We've had [wins] and I leave mad."

Another poor shooting night was primarily to blame for the Badgers' loss. After shooting 34.8 percent Saturday and making just 3-of-28 from outside against Iowa, Wisconsin shot 18-of-54 (33.3 percent) from the floor Tuesday.

Jordan Taylor struggled early, but finished as the lone bright spot after taking the game over on the offensive end late. Taylor finished with a game-high 28 points, including two crucial 3-pointers and 12-of-16 shooting at the free throw line.

Wisconsin lost its second straight game, and third this season at home, which matches the Badgers' most home losses under Ryan. UW lost consecutive home games and Big Ten contests for the first time since a six-game losing streak from Jan. 11-19, 2009.

There is still a lot of basketball to be played in the Big Ten this season, but opening up 1-2 does not exactly put Wisconsin in ideal position to compete for the conference title. Not that the Badgers will let that discourage them, though.

"It was definitely a tough loss, but I recall two years ago, Ohio State started the league 0-2 and went on to win it, or at least a share of it," said Taylor. "We know that we kind of put ourselves in a hole, [we] did it to ourselves.

"It's not impossible to win 16 games or 15 games in a row. It's definitely going to be tough, but we're not going to stop trying. We're going to work hard every day."






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