Created: 12/07/2013 5:05 PM
(AP) MADISON, Wis. - Three close looks at the bucket, three misses.
Count out Marquette’s maddeningly frustrating two-minute stretch to open the second half, and coach Buzz Williams believes his team would have had a much better shot at beating No. 8 Wisconsin.
Only that the Golden Eagles didn’t have an answer for Sam Dekker, the energetic sophomore who had 20 points and 10 rebounds to help the Badgers hold off a late rally for a 70-64 win in the latest entertaining contest between the intrastate rivals.
Jamil Wilson scored 22 points, including a 3 from the wing that capped a 10-2 run to draw Marquette (5-4) within three. But Frank Kaminsky then nailed a straightaway 3 with 1:18 left for the Badgers (10-0), who are off to the best start in 20 years.
"One stop. I said it as soon as I got in the shower _ one stop away. I said it to myself," Wilson said. "If we would’ve got one stop, or stopped one offensive rebound, just gotten one extra defensive rebound ... One stop and this game would’ve been ours."
Williams remembers those early misses to start the second half.
Wilson missed a layup. Point guard Derrick Wilson missed a floater. Center Chris Otule misfired on a bucket from less than a foot away.
The hustling Badgers pounced for a 7-2 run that quickly extended their lead to eight points Timeout Marquette with 17:59 left.
"In that sequence right there ... if you removed those two minutes, the rest of the way we outscored them by one," Williams estimated.
Too many misses to overcome, though. Marquette had one last chance after 6-foot-8 Davante Gardner hit a 3 from the wing to get to 68-64 with 4 seconds left. Gardner had muscled his way to the bucket for most of his 16 points.
But Josh Gasser closed it out with two foul shots. The Badgers were soon on their way to singing a school anthem in front of the student section to celebrate their first win over Marquette since a 69-64 victory in Milwaukee in 2010.
Gasser finished with 10 points and sparked the Badgers with his trademark defensive hustle.
"I’ve always thought coach (Bo) Ryan’s teams were tough, and they were definitely the toughest team today," Williams said.
Ben Brust added 13 points, 10 in the second half. The third member of Wisconsin’s dependable backcourt, Traevon Jackson, scored 12 after going 6 of 7 from the foul line after halftime, and added seven assists.
Up front, Dekker puzzled the Golden Eagles with his inside-out game. He finished 7 of 11 from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
Advantage Badgers this year in Dekker’s hometown of Sheboygan.
"The city’s pretty split, Marquette-Wisconsin-wise," Dekker said. "To have a chance to get a win tonight and also play well doing that is very gratifying."
Dekker found the 7-foot Kaminsky for a dunk off an alley-oop pass early in the second half. Then Kaminsky returned the favor, connecting with his teammate for an alley-oop dunk for a 48-38 lead with about 10 minutes left in the game.
Gasser tracked down a loose ball and drove the lane to draw defenders, only to pass to Dekker wide open from the corner for a 3 and an 11-point lead with about 8 minutes left.
Dekker might be a go-to guy with the ball, but Gasser is just as important to Wisconsin for his ability to draw charges and guard an opposing team’s best player.
"Well, you know ... Josh Gasser. Now you guys are going to write that down _ it’s the shortest answer I’ve ever given in the history of questions _ he’s a leader," Ryan said.
Marquette had experience and muscle in the frontcourt with Gardner, the 6-foot-11 Chris Otule (11 points) and 6-foot-7 Wilson. A 3-point play by Otule off an offensive rebound got Marquette within 57-51 with 3 minutes left.
But until the late 3s from Wilson and Gardner, the Golden Eagles rarely took a shot from long range.
Marquette played without perhaps its best 3-point shooter, Todd Mayo, who practiced this week but only watched Saturday’s game from the bench for what Williams called a violation of team rules.
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