INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ben Brust scored a career-high 29 points and Frank Kaminsky had 12 rebounds to lead No. 12 Wisconsin to an 83-57 rout over Minnesota 83-57 in Friday’s Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
The second-seeded Badgers (26-6) have won nine of 10 and will face No. 22 Michigan State or 11th-seeded Northwestern in Saturday’s semifinals.
Minnesota (20-13) was led by Deandre Mathieu with 18 points and Joey King with 14 but lost for the sixth time in their last eight tries against the Badgers. The Gophers now must wait to see if the NCAA tournament selection committee thinks they have done enough to get one of the precious 36 at-large bids.
The Badgers scored the last eight points of the first half to take a 34-22 lead, then fended off Minnesota’s second-half charge with 10-2 run that made it 50-33. The Gophers couldn’t get closer than 10 the rest of the game.
Wisconsin, which lost at Minnesota in January but is now 4-0 on neutral courts, looked like it played with a purpose.
It pushed the tempo, locked down defensively and gave the Golden Gophers almost no chance to come back after the opening minutes. The Badgers shot 54.5 percent from the field and finished 10 of 24 on 3-pointers, four of them coming courtesy of Brust.
Minnesota shot just 32.8 percent from the field and couldn’t keep up with Wisconsin’s shooters.
That may not help the Big Ten’s case with the selection committee. All three of the teams that were believed to be on the bubble going into this weekend – Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska – were eliminated before reaching the semis.
But the Badgers were on a different kind of mission Friday – trying to impress the committee enough to get a one or two seed in next week’s 68-team field.
The defending runner-ups wasted no time taking control.
They got a layup from Ben Brust, a midrange jumper from Nigel Hayes and a 3-pointer from Duje Dukan to start a 14-2 run that made it 21-9 with 9:02 left in the first half.
Minnesota used a 13-5 run to close the deficit to 26-22, but closed the half on an 8-0 run.
They followed a similar script in the second half.
When the Gophers scored six straight to cut the lead to eight, the Badgers used a 14-5 spurt to make it 50-33.
King’s 3 with 9:13 left ended a 7-0 spurt that the Gophers within 50-40. But Wisconsin quickly extended the lead to 60-43 and pulled away.
Nigel Hayes had 15 points and Bronson Koenig had 14 for the Badgers.