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A Tale of Two Halves: Ducks fall flat in second half as Badgers advance to Sweet 16

Oregon went into the half with a 12-point lead but fell cold in the second half as they were outscored by Wisconsin 48-28 ending their chance at back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances for the first time in school history.

The Oregon Ducks came out of the gates running on Saturday evening, putting the No. 2 seed Wisconsin Badgers in a difficult place going into the half. The Badgers responded with a dominating second half to advance to the Sweet 16 with a 85-77 win over Oregon.

Frank Kaminsky led the way for the Badgers with 19 points, but it was Ben Brust’s three-pointer with 1:07 remaining in the game to carry the Badgers onto the Sweet 16.

Joseph Young once again led the Ducks in scoring with 29 points while Jason Calliste came off the bench to add another 20 points.

Oregon’s free-throw shooting kept the Ducks in the game, hitting 91 percent of their free throws on the night. Unfortunately for the Ducks, they were put in a position to force Wisconsin to the free throw line where the Badgers would hit eight of their last ten free throws to clinch the win.

Much like their opening round game against BYU, the Ducks got off to a strong start hitting four of their first five field goals. Mike Moser had the hot hand early hitting all three of Oregon’s first four baskets, including a three-pointer to give the Ducks a 9-4 lead to start things off.

Wisconsin answered back with a 6-0 run to take their first lead of the game, but hometown hero Elgin Cook responded with another big put-back jam in transition.

After a three-pointer and a layup from the Badgers to give them the lead, the Bradley Center became deafening as the 99 percent of fans in attendance wearing red and white came to life. The Ducks answered back with consecutive three-pointers from Damyean Dotson and Jason Calliste to silence the crowd and put the Ducks back up by five.

In the late moments of the first half, Joseph Young delivered back-to-back three pointers to put the Ducks up by 11 points, their first double digit lead of the night.

Young’s second three pointer came after contact between Ben Carter and Sam Dekker sparked a rain of boos from the crowd. Carter was knocked to the ground while hitting Dekker in the mouth on the way down. Both the fans and Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan were furious, spurring a technical foul against the Badgers to send Young to the line for free throws. By halftime, the Ducks held a 49-37 lead.

The Ducks held a 19-2 advantage in fast break points during the first half as the pace of the game was in Oregon’s favor.

Young and Calliste carried the Ducks in the first half, combining for 31 of Oregon’s 49 first half points. Moser added in seven first half points, all which came from the game’s opening minutes.

Wisconsin came out of the half finding themselves in a hole, but were able to trim Oregon’s lead down to just one with a 17-6 scoring run out of the gates An 8-0 scoring run sparked by a three-pointer from Josh Gasser reignited the crowd, one of Wisconsin’s biggest advantages of the game. There was no getting around it, this was a true road game. Dana Altman was forced to call a timeout to prevent any further bleeding.

At the timeout, the Badgers had started the half shooting 7-for-9 compared to Oregon’s 2-for-4 shooting.

Wisconsin added another pair of threes after Altman’s timeout to jump out to a 62-58 lead. Just like Oregon for much of the season, the Badgers relied on the deep buckets, and the three pointers were falling for Wisconsin. After a three-pointer from Ben Brust, the Badgers led 67-61, their largest lead of the night to that point.

Wisconsin would miss their next four shots, allowing the Ducks to trim the Badger’s lead back down to two points. A layup from Joseph Young with five minutes to play tied the game back at 70-70.

Trailing 74-72, Joseph Young silenced the crowd once again with a three-pointer, proving he had ice water running through his veins.

After a missed post move from Jonathan Loyd (not a typo), the Badgers came up with three offensive rebounds to keep possession with 1:26 to play. Wisconsin converted with a three-pointer from Ben Brust to give the Badgers a 77-75 lead. The basket also made Brust Wisconsin’s all-time leader in three-point baskets.

Traevon Jackson was sent to the line with 31.1 seconds left and hit both free throws to give Wisconsin a 79-75 lead. Jason Calliste quickly answered back with a drive to the rim to make it a two point game again with 22.8 seconds to play.

The Ducks were forced to foul immediately whenever Wisconsin touched the ball. With 21.4 seconds left, Jackson missed the back end of a one-and-one that would’ve given the Badgers a two possession lead. The Ducks fought for the loose ball, coming up with the jump ball with 19.6 seconds to play, trailing 80-77.

Joseph Young pulled up for a three-pointer to try and tie the game and had a good look, but the shot fell off the mark, giving Wisconsin the ball with 10.4 seconds to go leading by three.

Sam Dekker would convert on both free throws, giving the Badgers a five point lead. A last ditch effort from Mike Moser fell short as Wisconsin came up with possession to clinch the win. Jason Calliste would let his emotions get the best of him, shoving Jackson to the ground and drawing the technical.

Wisconsin now advances to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of the Baylor vs. Creighton matchup on Sunday while Oregon has yet to advance to two straight Sweet 16’s in the history of the program.