MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- One dazzling streak ended and another
Top-ranked Illinois beat Wisconsin (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) 75-65 on Tuesday
night, extending the nation's longest winning streak to 20 games
and ending the nation's longest homecourt winning streak at 38.
They did it by scoring 14 of the game's final 15 points after
overcoming an eight-point deficit midway through the second half.
Illinois coach Bruce Weber, who had peddled his team as the
underdog despite eight straight weeks atop the poll, said the
biggest thing about the Illini's first win in Madison since 1998
was what it meant in the Big Ten race, where the Illini are 6-0.
"I told the kids if we win this one, we're going to be one up
on everyone because I don't know if anyone's capable of coming in
here and winning besides us after the Michigan State loss, so it
gives us one up for the Big Ten championship," Weber said.
And that's what bothered the Badgers, who fell to 53-3 at home
under Bo Ryan, who lost a Big Ten home game for the first time in
his four seasons as coach.
"The guys weren't worried about losing any streak. It was a Big
Ten conference game. That's all we were playing for," said Ryan,
whose teams are 26-1 at home in the league since he took over in
The Badgers (13-4, 4-2) led 56-48 with 10½ minutes left and were
still up by three with 4½ minutes remaining and the arena at its
Sore-footed Alando Tucker, who led Wisconsin with 16 points,
drove to the basket to give the Badgers a 64-61 with 4:31 left, but
dreams of Wisconsin's first win over a top-ranked opponent since
beating Ohio State in 1962 soon faded.
James Augustine, who was limited by foul trouble to 4 minutes in
the first half, made two free throws with 4:11 left and Jack Ingram
did the same at 3:39, putting the Illini ahead for good, 65-64.
Augustine, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half,
added consecutive dunks to make it 69-64, the first one coming off
a steal by Ingram.
The Badgers' most recent home win came when they scored the
final 11 points of the game to beat Michigan State 62-59 but there
was no such miracle in store for them this time.
The only break in Illinois' run came when Kammron Taylor made
one free throw with 1:07 left to make it 71-65.
"We picked it up defensively," Weber said. "I'm not sure if
they got a little stagnant or tight as it got down the stretch or
if we just defended well."
Deron Williams added 13 points and Roger Powell Jr. had 11 for
Illinois, which led 35-33 at halftime despite going scoreless over
the final 4:26 before the break.
"We've had a lot of good wins, Wake Forest, Gonzaga," Williams
said. "But with this streak that they had here and the history of
the building, this is tops right now."
Sharif Chambliss added 14 points for Wisconsin and Mike
Wilkinson scored 13.
The Badgers were just 5-of-12 from the free throw line and
Illinois was 17-of-20.
Wisconsin's average margin of victory during their winning
streak was 20.4 points and it appeared for a moment that this one
might be another Badgers' blowout when Tucker's 3-pointer gave
Wisconsin a 56-48 lead with 12:40 remaining.
After an Illinois timeout, the Badgers had a chance to go up by
double digits -- the most the Illini had trailed this season was by
nine at Purdue on Jan. 8 -- but Andreas Helmigk traveled and the
Rich McBride's 3-pointer was followed by two free throws from
Williams and two more from Head. After Taylor's basket gave the
Badgers a 58-55 lead, Ingram hit consecutive 3s to cap Illinois'
13-2 run and give the Illini a 61-58 lead.
"This is a great moment," Weber said. "They're enjoying it in
the locker room. This is the most excited they have been all year,
even more than they were at (then-No. 1) Wake Forest. They are
truly proud of themselves. They really wanted to come in here and
break the streak."
Wilkinson, who played in all 38 straight homecourt victories,
said the Badgers won't sulk about the end of the streak.
"It's over," he said. "We've got to move on."