Nittany Lions fade down stretch

Penn State came close to ending a long stretch of frustration at Wisconsin.

But as has been the case for most of the season, Penn State will return home wondering what it could have done differently down the stretch.

Despite a game-high 20 points from Tim Frazier, the Nittany Lions missed their final five shots, allowing No. 15 Wisconsin to close the game Sunday on a 14-9 run to win, 65-55, in a Big Ten Conference game at Kohl Center in Madison.

Coming in riding their first two-game win streak since Dec. 18-21, the Nittany Lions (12-16, 4-11) dug a 20-point hole.

But they were trying to break a 14-game winless streak in Madison when they used a 17-2 run in the second half to cut the lead to 51-46 with 5:48 remaining.

That's as close as it would get, as Jared Berggren hit two 3-pointers -- six of his 13 points -- to help Wisconsin keep a grip on fourth place in the conference.

"Those two 3s [Berggren] hit were to me the difference because I thought we battled back and did some good things," Penn State coach Pat Chambers said, "but they were daggers."

With his layup at the 16:15 mark in the first half, Frazier became the first Lions player to eclipse 500 points, 150 assists and 50 steals in the same season.

"All that does is show what comes through with my coaches and teammates, the credibility and giving me the opportunity as far as assists go," Frazier said. "I give it all [credit] to my team. I don't take any individual credit for that at all."

It still wasn't enough for Penn State to avoid falling to 1-10 on the road overall and 0-8 on the road in conference. Penn State hasn't won a road game since winning Nov. 30 at Boston College.

"It's inexperience," Chambers said. "It's youth."

Josh Gasser led Wisconsin (20-7, 9-5) with 15 points, one of four players in double figures for the Badgers, who have won eight of their past 10 games.

Wisconsin earned the victory because it made 3-pointers.

After missing its first two attempts, Wisconsin hit seven of its next 12 in the first half, including one on five consecutive possessions, to build a 35-21 halftime lead.

The biggest catalyst in that half was Gasser, who hit a 3-pointer on three consecutive possessions that put the Badgers on a 15-2 run, building a 27-13 lead after 13 minutes.

Wisconsin finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, its best rate in more than a month, while Penn State shot 35.7 percent for the first half, 39.3 percent for the game and made just 4 of 18 3-pointers

Wisconsin reached the 20-win mark for the sixth consecutive season and ninth time in coach Bo Ryan's 11 seasons. Prior to Ryan's arrival in 2001-02, the Badgers had a total of four 20-win seasons.

Other Top 25 men

• Iowa 78, Indiana 66: Senior Matt Gaten scored a career-high 30 points and host Iowa (14-13, 6-8 Big Ten) beat No. 18 Indiana (20-7, 8-7), snapping the Hoosiers' three-game winning streak.

• Duke 75, Boston College 50: Seth Curry scored 18 points and No. 5 Duke (23-4, 10-2 ACC) didn't need another late rally as it cruised to a victory at Boston College (8-19, 3-10).

• Michigan State 76, Purdue 62: Draymond Green had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Austin Thornton scored a career-high 17 points to lead No. 7 Michigan State (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) past host Purdue (17-10, 7-7).

Big East

• Syracuse 74, Rutgers 64: C.J. Fair scored a career-high 21 points and Scoop Jardine added 17, including a dagger 3-pointer with 1:11 to play, as No. 2 Syracuse (27-1, 14-1) escaped another close one with a victory against host Rutgers (12-15, 4-10).



First Published 2012-02-19 23:18:49