CHAMPAIGN (AP) — Ben Brust scored 20 points and Wisconsin overcame a ragged start on Sunday to beat Illinois 74-68.
The Badgers (15-7, 6-3 Big Ten) shot under 30 percent for most of the first half and combined with the Illini to score 14 points in the game's first eight minutes.
Wisconsin eventually started making shots and Illinois (15-8, 2-7) didn't until it was too late. The Illini closed the gap late but trailed by 15 with 5:13 to play.
Frank Kaminsky added 19 for the Badgers and Ryan Evans scored 15. The win keeps the Badgers in sixth place in the Big Ten.
Illinois was led by Joseph Bertrand's 17 points. Four other Illini scored in double figures.
The Illini have lost seven of nine and have fallen to 10th in the conference.
Wisconsin 51, Illinois 41 — 10:00 second half
Great start to the second half for the Illini. They really competed in those first few minutes, would have been a lot better if Myke Henry didn’t miss a dunk in transition.
Then the Badgers went on an 8-0 right after that to get their lead back to 13.
Bertrand and Mike Bruesewitz fought for a loose ball in front of the Illinois bench to start the half. The Illini wanted the call to go their way. “Don’t start,” Sanzere said to them.
They’ve really got to get the continuation thing figured out in college basketball. It’s so inconsistent. I think Bertrand should have had an And-1.
Wisconsin runs really good stuff. Seems like their guys always flash open.
Dustin Ford told Myke Henry to “Get on the glass” as he checked into the game early in the half.
I was told the whole shot clock snafu was handled correctly. The officials had two dead balls to go back and make the correction. They did that. It’s a lot more complicated than that, but that’s the nuts and bolts of it.
Brandon Paul’s had a rough day off the bench. He started 0 for 7 from the floor, though in his defense, he’s been fouled on at least two of those and they weren’t called.
Frank Kaminsky and Ben Brust, two suburban Chicago kids are killing the Illini today. Brust (Hawthorn Woods) has 16 points. Kaminsky (Lisle) has 13 and five boards.
Someone down here just said “This is just getting ridiculous to watch,” after a Brandon Paul missed free throw.
Bertrand is making a little run, he’s got six straight for the Illini.
Wisconsin 33, Illinois 24 — Halftime
Groce got a technical going into the locker room at halftime. He was hot about the officials missing the foul call on Brandon Paul on the last possession. He’s got a beef, in my opinion.
“You’re too short to see that call, ref,” said a fan to Mike Sanzere.
Nnanna Egwu’s block of a Wisconsin shot midway through the half drew the loudest applause from the pretty reserved crowd.
They’re ready to go watch that football game.
“The foul was on 40!” That’s what all the Illinois coaches shouted when Jared Berggren fouled Egwu for an and-1. It was Berggren’s second personal.
D.J. Richardson’s three-pointer got the fans fired up again at the 8:10 mark. It’s the 29th straight game in which he’s made a three.
Richardson didn’t appreciate the foul called on him on the next Wisconsin possession. He likened it to horse manure. It was his second personal.
The Illinois bench wanted an over the back called on Frank Kaminsky going for a rebound against Brandon Paul.
“He’s 6 inches taller than him,” Sanzere explained to them.
Mike LaTulip got in the game and got caught in a switch guarding Kaminsky in the post. He’s a foot shorter than the Wisconsin big man.
Brandon Paul has been really aggressive, going to the basket drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line.
Bo Ryan and Sam Dekker were really angry about the shot clock violation. The clock never reset, but they didn’t review it until after Illinois had a possession.
“How can you go back and review that, Mike?” The Illinois coaches asked.
The Illinois coaches argued that their defense change because the shot clock was ticking down. “We full rotated because of the shot clock!”
It’s a pretty confusing situation.
Bo Ryan was hot at George Marshall for an ill-advised three late in the half.
Illinois shot 29.6 percent (8 for 27) and 1 for 4 from three.
Wisconsin shot 35.5 percent (11 for 31) and 2 for 8 from deep.
Tracy Abrams has six points, D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul each have five.
Ben Brust has 11 to lead Wisconsin.
Wisconsin 9, Illinois 7 — 11:36 first half
Just before the tip, Groce tapped Brandon Paul on the hip and said “Have a good one.”
The first three shots missed badly for the Illini. Bertrand shot an airball from 12 feet and Richardson shot a brick from 15.
Illinois started 1 for 7 from the floor. Wisconsin was 1 for 9.
D.J. Richardson just made a real nice poster to hang up in his bedroom. Jared Berggren will be featured prominently.
The daughter of former Illini coach Harry Combs is here. Loren just had a chat with her.
Brandon Paul and Myke Henry were the first Illinois subs.
The officials told the Illinois coaches not to talk to any Wisconsin players. Apparently Ryan Evans was jawing at the Illini bench going into the first timeout.
Text message I just received “This is brutal.” Can’t say I disagree.
Mike Sanzere is one of your officials today. He had the Indiana-Michigan game last night. This one is a little different than that one was.
Groce gets really excited when the players do what they’re supposed to do. Brandon Paul misfired on a three-pointer but the coach was really fired up about the screen that got him open.
Nice start for Sam McLaurin. He’s got a couple of hustle rebounds and had a nice bucket in the post after a couple of spins.
Illinois and Wisconsin are both 3 for 12 from the floor. Ed Bond just said he can go 3 for 12 from the floor.
Ryan Evans is 3 for 3 from the free throw line. He’s 39 percent on the season from the stripe. He went 2 for 2 against the Illini in Madison. Some things just don’t make any sense.
Wisconsin (14-7, 5-3) at Illinois (15-7, 2-6) — Tipoff (BTN)
Illinois made another change to its starting lineup today. Tracy Abrams, D.J. Richardson, Joseph Bertrand, Sam McLaurin and Nnanna Egwu are your starters. Bertrand for Paul.
There is an Ibby Djimde fan club sitting with the Illinois families near the bench. A couple of young ladies wearing Ibby’s No. 23 jersey.
Jerry Hester is Facetiming on his iPad with his kids who are back home in Chicago.
Wisconsin is going with Traevon Jackson, Ben Brust, Ryan Evans, Mike Bruesewitz and Jared Berggren.
It’s still cold in here.
Michael Finke has arrived with his entire family, including little brother Tim who will play for a state title Thursday.
The Finkes are visiting with Mike Thomas and his family.
D.J. Richardson made a halfcourt shot before retreating to the locker room about 14 minutes before the tip.
At last check, the Illini women were up 17-14 on the Badgers up in Madison.
Wisconsin (14-7, 5-3) at Illinois (15-7, 2-6) — 30 minutes before tipoff (BTN)
Not a big recruiting day for the Illini today. The Super Bowl kind of has something to do with that.
Michael Finke will probably be here, but that’s about it.
Last Sunday was busy with JaQuan Lyle, Larry Austin and Jalen Coleman.
Jerry Hester just arrived to assume his seat next to Brian Barnhart for the radio broadcast. Look for an episode on “The Journey” in the coming weeks featuring Hester and the other Peoria Illini, including D.J. Richardson. Should be a good one.
Wisconsin super fan Andy North is down on press row having some conversations. He’s shaved his gray five o’clock shadow off.
North won the U.S. Open in 1978 and 1985.
No sign of Steve Stricker. The former Illini golf star was last seen in Madison wearing a Wisconsin hat and cheering for the Badgers as they were bludgeoning the Illini a few weeks ago. I’m told Stricker felt bad about the incident. He doesn’t think about those things and didn’t realize he was going to be on TV. He was wearing an Illinois shirt underneath his jacket that day.
There’s been a lot of 80s music played here today during the pregame. Not sure what that’s all about. I’m not mad about Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” playing.
There’s a kid in the Orange Krush wearing some old-school orange shorts that John Stockton might have worn when he was a player. They leave little to the imagination. It’s kind of disturbing, to be quite honest.
The Wisconsin players are really big fans of the Ke$ha song “Die Young” They’re clapping their hands in unison along with the beat as the song plays here. They’re also bouncing the balls off the floor really high, like almost as high as the scoreboard. It’s just their thing, I guess.
Ther new Justin Timberlake song "Suit & Tie" is playing, too. Both teams are fans of it.
The Orange Krush is having fun with Sam Dekker. The Wisconsin freshman is really good.
Wisconsin (14-7, 5-3) at Illinois (15-7, 2-6) — 60 minutes before tipoff (BTN)
Just checked with Derrick Burson, Illinois’ fine sports information director and he doesn’t think this one will be a sellout. They were down to about 1,200 tickets remaining late in the week.
The folks have started filing in. Apparently the doors are wide open at the entrance. It’s freezing in here.
The Badgers are here, wearing their red road uniforms. The Illini will wear white today. I remember watching the Illinois-Wisconsin game in 2005 when the Badgers wore red and Illini wore orange that was a nightmare.
Wisconsin has hoods on their warm-ups. That’s still weird to me every time I see that. I’d love to have a hood right now.
Marketing guru Carrie Snyder just stopped by and handed me a pin celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NCAA tournament. There’s a banner here commemorating the landmark year. Illinois hopes to be a part of the event. They need some wins, especially today, to make progress in that regard.
I saw Carrie walking in the snow-covered parking lot earlier wearing some serios high heels. Impressive considering the fact that she sprained her ankle a couple of weeks ago by simply walking. In flat shoes. She needs to come up with a better story.
By the way, there’s some Illini flavor in the IESA seventh-grade state basketball tournament. Champaign Franklin, led by Tim Finke, son of former Illini football and basketball player Jeff Finke, is playing for a state title this weekend in Class 4A. Tim is also the younger brother of Illinois commit Michael Finke. Franklin is 25-0.
In Class 3A, Unity’s seventh-grade team features J.T. Wheeler, the son of former Illini T.J. Wheeler. The Rockets are 18-8.
The Illini just went through some pregame workouts and Joseph Bertrand worked up a serious sweat.
When these teams last met, the point guard situation was still very much a question for the Badgers. Not so much anymore. Traevon Jackson has taken over there and he’s turning himself into a really good lead guard in the absence of Josh Gasser.
Not sure why he didn’t end up at Ohio State, where his dad Jimmy was an All-American, but Wisconsin sure is glad to have him for two more years after this one.
Wisconsin (14-7, 5-3) at Illinois (15-7, 2-6) — 90 minutes before tipoff (BTN)
Good afternoon, thanks for swinging by for another HQ Live Report.
There’s a basketball game here today. I’m told there’s a football game being played today. I think it’s in New Orleans, some kind of a bowl game. I thought those were all over.
I’m predicting a 49ers win. I’m also predicting former Illini A.J. Jenkins will get his first NFL reception today.
OK, back to hoops. Anyone catch that Indiana-Michigan game last night? That was some high-level basketball. The Hoosiers will be No. 1 when they come here to the Assembly Hall on Thursday. That should be a pretty electric environment.
Not sure what it’s going to be like here today. The Illini have had four sellouts in a row, not sure yet if they sold all the tickets for today’s game, but I know Jason Heggemeyer was making a push to sell this one out, too. That would guarantee six straight sellouts, because Thursday’s game is obviously sold out.
We’ll see how many folks show up or opt to stay home and prepare for their Super Bowl parties.
I’m expecting a much better performance from the Illini today than three weeks ago when these teams last met.
The 74-51 loss in Madison was the worst performance of the season for Illinois, which was ranked 12th at the time.
“I think they caught us sleepwalking, guys came out extremely flat and we just didn’t execute the game plan at all,” Sam McLaurin said. “It’s tough to play at the Kohl Center, but they’re good at home and on the road.”
Illinois is coming off a pretty solid performance Thursday at Michigan State, where they scored 75 points on 74 offensive possessions. They’ve still got some work to do on the defensive end, however.
Tyler Griffey is here going through his shooting routine. He’s mixing it up a bit. He normally takes the bulk of his shots at the north end. He’s on the south side today. Maybe that will change up his luck a bit. He didn’t take a three at Michigan State, but he knocked down a midrange jumper. He’ll hit one today. Book it.
Mike LaTulip is out here, too, along with Devin Langford. Brandon Paul just emerged from the tunnel. He’s wearing those shin pads guys are wearing all across the country.
I’m jumping on the pregame show with Loren Tate and Steve Kelly. I’ll check back in with you shortly.