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Men’s basketball: No. 14 Wisconsin ekes out victory over Minnesota – InForum

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MADISON, Wisconsin — Stephen Kroll scored 17 points and Chucky Hepburn added 16 as No. 14 Wisconsin defeated Minnesota 63-60 in Tuesday night’s Big Ten game.

Trailing by 15 points early in the second half, Minnesota closed out an 11-0 run with a Jamison Battle layup 54-53 with 8:34 remaining. The Gophers then missed their next seven field goal attempts before a Dawson Garcia layup closed the gap to 63–58 with 48 seconds remaining.

A Ta’Lon Cooper layup put the Gophers within 63-60 with 27 seconds remaining. Minnesota rebounded on Kroll’s missed free throw with nine seconds remaining, but Hepburn came up with the steal before the Gophers landed a last-second shot.

The Big Ten of Wisconsin (11-2, 3-0) played most of the game without the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, Tyler Wall. Wall was dismissed at 11:10 in the first half and did not return due to a declared lower-body injury. Wall made only 1 of 5 shots and he had 2 points and 2 rebounds before departing.

Minnesota forward Dawson Garcia takes a shot at Wisconsin forward Marcus Ilver on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kayla Wolf / USA Today Sports

Cooper scored 16 points, Garcia scored 14 points, and Battle 13 was won in Minnesota (6-7, 0-3 Big Ten). The Gophers played for the first time in 12 days after a previously scheduled game was canceled due to travel-related issues.

Freshman Conor Essegian added 11 points off the Wisconsin bench for a sixth straight win. The Badgers scored his 21 points in his 20 turnovers at Minnesota.

Minnesota had a 40-24 dominance on the board, including 11 offensive rebounds for a 12-0 advantage on second-chance points.

Kroll hit a 3-pointer and underscored to cap a 7-0 run at the start of the second half, putting Wisconsin up 39-26. I got it within 49-42.

Wisconsin closed out the first half with an 8-0 run with a 32-26 lead at the break as the Gophers went scoreless in the final 3:10.

Kroll, a junior who scored a career-high 25 points in the Badgers’ 76-66 victory over Western Michigan on Friday, picked up two fouls 13 seconds apart and sat in the final 5:53 of the half.

Minnesota made only one of their first nine shots, but then scored on four consecutive possessions to take a 13-9 lead.

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