Leuer’s late block helps No. 14 Wisconsin beat Northwestern 70-63

By Chris Jenkins, AP
Sunday, February 21, 2010

No. 14 Wisconsin beats Northwestern 70-63

MADISON, Wis. — Jon Leuer’s blocked shot with 11 seconds remaining helped No. 14 Wisconsin escape with a 70-63 victory over Northwestern on Sunday.

With Wisconsin leading by three, Leuer went high in the air to block a layup attempt by Northwestern’s Michael Thompson — making up for some shaky free throw shooting down the stretch in his second game back from a broken wrist.

Jason Bohannon scored 17 points to lead the Badgers (20-7, 10-5 Big Ten), who were coming off a loss at Minnesota and had lost two of their last three games coming into Sunday.

John Shurna scored 26 for the Wildcats (17-10, 6-9), who narrowly missed a chance at an impressive road win and have lost three of their last four.

Trailing by double digits for most of the second half, Northwestern went on an 10-0 run to cut Wisconsin’s lead to 57-54 with 6:42 left as Wisconsin went scoreless for nearly five minutes. Bohannon broke through with a 3-pointer, but the Badgers suddenly found themselves in a close game.

The Wildcats eventually cut the lead to one on a driving layup by Thompson with 3:06 left.

Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor hit a pair of free throws, and Northwestern was called for a foul on the rebound on the other end. But Leuer missed two free throws, and Shurna hit two on the other end to cut the lead back to one with 2:11 remaining.

A Northwestern foul then sent Leuer back to the line with 1:12 left, and he hit one of two.

Shurna missed a jumper on the other end and Leuer got the rebound. Trevon Hughes missed a 3-point try, but Shurna was called for a foul and Tim Jarmusz hit one of two free throws.

Leuer then elevated to block Thompson’s shot, and the Badgers hit their free throws to seal the game.

Leuer played 22 minutes in his second game back after missing nine games because of a broken wrist, scoring 11 points with four rebounds and three blocks. Leuer had four points in 26 minutes in his return from injury, a loss at Minnesota on Thursday.

Despite struggling to stop Wisconsin’s hot shooting from the field early on, Northwestern stuck close for most of the first half. But the Badgers pulled away with a 12-2 run in the final 4 minutes of the half, including a driving layup and a 3-pointer by Bohannon, and Wisconsin led 43-29 at halftime.

The Badgers shot 15 of 20 from the field in the first half, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

Before making its big run, Northwestern tried to cut into Wisconsin’s lead but the Badgers seemed to have an answer every time.

Luka Mirkovic’s inside score cut the lead to nine with 16:16 remaining, but the Badgers answered with a putback by Mike Bruesewitz and three free throws by Hughes after Shurna fouled him on a 3-point try.

Later, a three-point play by Northwestern’s Jeremy Nash cut the lead to 11 — but Bohannon hit a fadeaway jumper, putting the Badgers up 57-44 with 10:58 left.

Bohannon has scored 15 points or more in six straight games — including his 30-point effort in a victory over Indiana on Feb. 13.

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