BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Bo Ryan didn't want his players to
think about The Streak.
So the first-year Wisconsin coach canceled the team's
shootaround Wednesday afternoon and sent the players to the mall.
When they returned to Assembly Hall, the program's house of
horrors for the past 25 years, the Badgers appeared to have found
just what they were looking for.
Charlie Wills finished with 17 points, and Kirk Penney scored
Wisconsin's final points on a 3-pointer with 2:18 to go as the
Badgers ended a quarter-century of frustration at Assembly Hall
with a 64-63 victory over Indiana (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP).
"I think now that it's over, there were some comments made,"
Ryan said after his team celebrated at midcourt. "We never
discussed it coming in."
Instead, Ryan, who used just seven players Wednesday night,
wanted his team to rest.
That tactic seemed to pay big dividends.
Wills, who grew up in northeast Indiana, made his first seven
shots and scored 13 points in the first half when Wisconsin set the
Freshman Devin Harris scored 14 of his 16 points in the first
half, and freshman Mike Wilkinson scored nine straight points
during one stretch in the second half. And when Wisconsin needed a
big play, Penney delivered with his second 3-pointer, which broke a
That, and a defense that shut out Indiana for the final 1:59,
was all the Badgers (15-11, 8-5 Big Ten) needed to win at Indiana
for the first time since Feb. 24, 1977.
"It felt great," said Wills, a senior. "I'm really happy for
all the guys -- this is a big morale booster for all of us."
The victory, only Wisconsin's third in Assembly Hall, which
opened in 1971-72, didn't come without some controversy.
With 1.9 seconds to go, Wills and Indiana's Jeff Newton were
battling underneath the Hoosiers basket. While it appeared Newton
had been pulled down, there was no call and Indiana got the ball
out of bounds.
But Tom Coverdale's long 3-pointer from the wing was off the
mark and Wisconsin held on for the win.
"No comment," Indiana coach Mike Davis said when asked if he
thought it was a foul. "I have no comment."
Between the Badgers' victories, the last of which came when Ryan
was an assistant at Wisconsin, were 22 straight losses in
Yet the Hoosiers (16-8, 8-5), though, weren't close to full
strength Wednesday night.
Jared Jeffries, the conference's leading scorer, missed the game
with a sprained right ankle and without him, Indiana didn't play
like itself. The conference's second-best scoring defense allowed
Wisconsin to shoot 58.6 percent from the field in the first half
and found itself in a 40-35 halftime deficit -- its first in seven
Coverdale had 17 points and seven assists and Jarrad Odle added
12 points and 11 rebounds, but Indiana managed just one lead, 49-48
midway through the second half, and forced only two ties over the
Davis said he had no second thoughts about not playing Jeffries.
"There was no sense in me playing him, he's hurt," Davis said.
"I shouldn't have played him against Louisville (on Saturday), but
I thought we needed to win that game."
Still, the Hoosiers rallied with a 9-2 run midway through the
Wilkinson answered by scoring Wisconsin's next seven points to
give the Badgers a 55-51 lead with 10:24 to go.
The Badgers led the rest of the game, except for a 1:22 stretch
after Dane Fife tied the score at 61 with a 3-pointer. Penney broke
the tie with his 3-pointer and the Wisconsin defense took care of
the rest, allowing only one more basket -- Fife's 10-footer with
"It's special," Wills said.