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Wisconsin defeats Oregon to return to Sweet 16

OMAHA, Neb. -- Wisconsin wasn't at its best against Oregon. Fortunately for the Badgers, they didn't have to be to earn a return trip to the Sweet 16.

The Badgers beat the Ducks for the second straight year in the NCAA Tournament's round of 32, this time by 72-65 at CenturyLink Center last night.

Wisconsin had its worst shooting game in a month and got outrebounded by the smaller Ducks, and Big Ten player of the year Frank Kaminsky was quiet offensively for long stretches.

Still, the Badgers (33-3) were able to get out to a quick lead and hold on, and now they're headed to the regional semifinals for the fourth time in five years. The West Regional's No. 1 seed will play No. 4 North Carolina on Thursday in Los Angeles.

"We're definitely excited and thrilled to be there, but we're not as in awe or shocked as we were last year," Nigel Hayes said. "Last year, we were jumping around up and down on the court, celebrating. This time, it was 'Hoo-rah, good job, guys. We have the next game to take care of.' "

Sam Dekker scored 17 points, hitting a couple of big baskets after Oregon (26-10) tied it late.

Kaminsky had 16 points, with no shot bigger than his putback of Hayes' missed free throw to make it a 10-point game with 44 seconds left.

Hayes had 14 points and Bronson Koenig added 12.

Pac-12 player of the year Joseph Young, who scored 27 points in a win over Oklahoma State on Friday, had 30 against the Badgers.

"We had ourselves in a position against an experienced, well-coached and very good team," Ducks coach Dana Altman said. "I'm sorry we couldn't get it finished off for these guys so we could keep playing."

Wisconsin played with the lead all game until Dwayne Benjamin tied it at 52 with a three-pointer with 5:27 left. The Badgers took the lead right back, though, with Dekker's reverse layup and a three-pointer to make it 58-52.

"Oregon made their run to fight back," Dekker said, "just as a good team always does. And good teams respond to those runs. We settled in, and guys weren't going to get too riled up. We got a big 6-0 run there and opened up the lead and held on from there. It's a game of runs, and you've got to respond at the right time."

Jalil Abdulu-Bassit had 12 points for the Ducks, who were trying to get to the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years.

The size advantage that Wisconsin was supposed to enjoy against Oregon wasn't much of an advantage at all. Oregon outrebounded the Badgers 34-32, outscored them 30-24 in the lane and had four blocks to Wisconsin's three.

"At this point," guard Josh Gasser said, "I don't care if we play . . . [terribly] and still win. We did some good things, we did some bad things."

Credit Oregon for causing Wisconsin to shoot 43 percent from the field and go 7-for- 23 on three-pointers.


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