CHICAGO (AP) — Nate Reuvers scored 14 points, D’Mitrik Trice hit a clutch 3-pointer with 58 seconds left and No. 19 Wisconsin beat pesky Nebraska 66-62 on Friday to advance to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
Khalil Iverson also scored 14 points as the Badgers (23-9) won for the sixth time in seven games despite a shaky performance by Ethan Happ. The 6-foot-10 forward, who was averaging 17.8 points and 10.4 rebounds coming into the tourney, had a season-low four points and committed seven of the team’s 17 turnovers.
Reuvers, Iverson, Aleem Ford and Brad Davison stepped up to help make up for Happ’s tough day. Ford and Davison each had 11 points.
Next up for the Badgers is No. 6 Michigan State. The top-seeded Spartans advanced with a 77-70 victory over Ohio State.
Nebraska (18-16) fell just short in its bid for a third win in three days. The Cornhuskers had a six-man rotation because of injuries and backup guard Nana Akenten’s suspension, and it looked as if their lack of depth caught up to them in the final moments.
Glynn Watson Jr. scored 23 points for Nebraska, and James Palmer Jr. finished with 15 on 6-for-21 shooting. Isaiah Roby scored 13.
Watson, Palmer and Roby each played the entire game. Watson and Palmer played every minute of the Cornhuskers’ stay in the conference tourney.
Nebraska was down just 57-55 when Trice connected from long range with 58 seconds left. After Watson missed a 3 on the other end, Davison made two free throws to make it 62-55 with 39 seconds remaining.
Davison made two more foul shots and Trice also hit two from the line to help Wisconsin close out the win. The Badgers made 11 of 12 free throws for the game, while the Cornhuskers went 6 for 8.
Nebraska trailed by as many as 13, but got back into the game with a 13-2 run spanning halftime. Watson closed the first half with eight straight points on two 3s and a driving layup, and Roby’s 3 trimmed Wisconsin’s lead to 36-34 with 17:58 remaining.
After the Cornhuskers went in front for the first time on Palmer’s layup with 10:18 left, Reuvers got the lead back for the Badgers when he banked in a 3 from the top of the key. The 6-foot-11 Reuvers grinned as ran back down the court to play defense.
It was tight the rest of the way, but Wisconsin had an answer for every push by Nebraska. After Watson scored five straight points to get the Cornhuskers within two again, Ford responded with a tough jumper for the Badgers with 3:55 left.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers looked a little tired down the stretch, shooting 33.3 percent (12 for 36) from the field in the second half.
Wisconsin: It was ugly, but the Badgers found a way. They outrebounded Nebraska 36-30.
Nebraska likely is headed for the NIT.
Wisconsin looks to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume when it takes on No. 6 Michigan State.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap