Wisconsin 61, Tulsa 60
Saturday, March 22nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- It was unknown whether Freddie Owens would even play until he stepped on the court Saturday.
Good thing for Wisconsin he was available because Owens rescued the Badgers.
Owens swished a 3-pointer with 1 second to play, capping a late rally and lifting fifth-seeded Wisconsin to a 61-60 victory over No. 13 Tulsa to move the Badgers into the Midwest Regional semifinals.
The Badgers (23-7), making a school-record fifth straight NCAA appearance, advanced to play Thursday in Minneapolis against the winner of Sunday's game in Nashville between Kentucky and Utah.
Wisconsin fans chanted, "Freddie, Freddie," as Owens did a courtside radio interview. Owens sprained his right ankle in Wisconsin's opening-round win over Weber State and his status was unclear until tipoff.
Mike Wilkinson had 18 points and eight rebounds for Wisconsin, while Devin Harris scored 12 and Alando Tucker 10. The Badgers survived despite a six-point effort by their best player, Kirk Penney.
Kevin Johnson scored 23 points and Jason Parker had 17 for Tulsa (23-10), the lowest-seeded team to advance past the first round. The Golden Hurricane were in control, leading 58-45 with 4:08 to play.
The Badgers, in a daze for the first 36 minutes, rallied with an 11-0 run to pull to 58-56. After Johnson scored for Tulsa, Harris drove for a layup with 48.2 seconds to play to make it 60-58. Tucker sparked the comeback, scoring four points and forcing a turnover.
When Parker missed the rim on a runner, the shot clock violation gave possession back to Wisconsin. After a timeout with 12.1 seconds to go, Harris dribbled upcourt and found Owens wide open in the left corner. Owens was 4-of-16 in the tournament until making the game winner.
Tulsa took a timeout to set up a final play, but Jarius Glenn was whistled for stepping over the baseline. That touched off a celebration on the Wisconsin sideline, capped when Owens took the ensuing inbound pass and threw the ball into the air.
He was mobbed by teammates as Tulsa players walked dejectedly off the court.
Tulsa was in control all day, using speed and athleticism to dictate the tempo. Parker had 15 points by halftime, when Tulsa led 32-25 and Johnson had 19 points after the break as the Hurricane built their big lead.
He rebounded a miss by Parker to put Tulsa ahead 49-38 with 8:30 remaining, then extended the margin to 55-45 when he collected another rebound and scored. On the next possession, Johnson swished a 3-pointer to make it 58-45 with 4:08 to play.
Out of nowhere, the Badgers came to life. It started with a 3-pointer by Harris. Tucker made two free throws and scored inside to pull Wisconsin to 58-52.
Wilkinson hit two free throws and made a jumper with 1:13 to go, trimming the margin to 58-56 and Wisconsin, which lost to eventual national champion Maryland in last year's second round, was right back in it.
The Badgers looked nothing like the team that won the Big Ten regular-season title outright for the first time since 1947 until then. Penney, the team's top scorer with a 16.4 average, took an elbow to the head shortly after tipoff and never found his touch.
He finished with six points on 2-of-12 shooting.