Mar 9, 2012, 5:13 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS – Needing a victory to stay in contention for a protected four-seed in the NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin looked to its bench for help.
What they found was a four-year reserve player who caught fire from beyond the arc, as Rob Wilson dropped a career high 30-points on 11-16 shooting, including seven three pointers, to help the No. 15 Badgers sneak past the No. 14 Indiana Hoosiers and advance to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
“I’m so happy for [Rob],” said Jordan Taylor after the game. “I almost feel like I had 30 im so happy.”
A reserve player who averages only 10 minutes a game this season, Wilson’s career high point total today actually surpassed his season-high minutes total.
Rarely in the spotlight, the sheepish senior admitted he didn’t know if he’d ever been in an interview room during his college career, and that he’s certainly never felt like that on a basketball court since high school.
How about that for perspective?
“Needless to say we had a player that was in the zone,” said Bo Ryan. “Rob has really stepped into his own during the end of the season.”
A pleasant surprise for the head coach? Absolutely, but Wilson had been showing signs of becoming reliable option within the Badgers offense. His three best games of this regular season came in the past three weeks, highlighted by an 11-point performance against Iowa on February 23rd.
While the celebrations for Wilson’s performance continued into the media room and Badgers locker room, Wisconsin on the whole should be lauded for their ability to fend off a Hoosier club that probably felt like they were playing a home game.
Three times in the second half the Badgers found their lead cut to one, but never relinquished the advantage, stopping the Hoosiers from ever pulling ahead with crucial defensive stops down the stretch.
That’s per the usual for a program that prides itself on toughness. They’ll need to continue that tomorrow against Michigan State.
Follow Nick Fasulo on Twitter @billyedelinSBN.
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