Tom Izzo never actually heard what the officials’ final ruling was on Ryan Evans’ apparent game-tying 3-pointer.
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He just knew the shot didn’t count, and Michigan State was walking away with a rare road victory at Wisconsin.
Evans’ shot was disallowed after officials looked at a replay and ruled that it left his hand after time expired, allowing the 10th-ranked Spartans to hold on for a 63-60 overtime victory over the 18th-ranked Badgers.
”I don’t know what happened at the end,” Izzo said. ”Nor do I care. I thought we played well enough and earned the win, and that’s the way I’m going to look at it.”
Draymond Green had 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Keith Appling added 16 points for the Spartans (14-2, 3-0 Big Ten), who have won 14 straight.
Jordan Taylor scored 28 points for the Badgers (12-4, 1-2), who have lost two straight at home for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Evans’ 3 was overturned when officials ruled he didn’t get the shot off in time.
”Everybody was kind of just waiting for the refs to give the signal,” Appling said. ”There (weren’t) really too many words said, other than us just looking at the refs trying to figure out if we were going to another overtime – or did we win?”
In comments distributed by Wisconsin’s sports information staff, referee Pat Driscoll acknowledged that there was some confusion because a clock on a side scoreboard appeared to show 0.2 seconds left when the shot left Evans’ hand, while time had expired on the clock above the backboard.
”By rule we have to go by the clock that is on the backboard,” Driscoll said. ”I don’t know why there would be different (times) – it could be satellite, electronic, whatever – but by rule we have to go by the clock that is attached to the backboard. In our review on the monitor, the clock clearly showed zeros while the ball remained in the Wisconsin player’s hands.”
Driscoll said officials looked at the replay approximately seven times, also examining whether Evans’ foot was on the 3-point line.
Green, who missed a pair of free throws that could have put the game away, said waiting for the ruling was agonizing.
”The feeling for me was awful, but the feeling in the huddle was great because the guys, everybody picked me up — `Dray, no matter what, we’re still going to win this game,”’ said Green. ”They didn’t let me be down on myself, although I was. Everybody snatching me, grabbing my jersey, `Hey, are you OK? If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be in this position anyway.’ That was real comforting.”
Badgers coach Bo Ryan said he tried to sneak a peek at the replay monitor while officials were looking at it but didn’t get a good look.
”I haven’t broken it down yet,” Ryan said. ”Probably will, though.”
It was another rare home loss – and another rough shooting night – for the Badgers, who shot poorly from outside in a home loss to Iowa on Saturday.
It was only the Badgers’ 14th loss, and eighth conference loss, at home under Ryan.
The Badgers have been overly reliant on streaky outside shooting this season. They were 3 for 28 from 3-point range in the loss to the Hawkeyes.
They certainly made an effort to get the ball inside Tuesday, but still ended up going 5 for 22 from 3-point range.
Izzo said he made some defensive changes.
”We did a lot of things we don’t normally do,” Izzo said. ”We switched a little more, we stunted, we did some things to try to stop that 3-point barrage. And thank god for us, one less went in.”
Green hit a pair of free throws to give the Spartans a 54-52 lead early in overtime, but Evans scored inside to tie the game.
After defensive stops on both ends, Brandon Wood drove the lane and passed to Derrick Nix, who scored to give the Spartans a 56-54 lead. Nix then scored again on a putback, putting Michigan State up 58-54 with 1:44 left in overtime.
After a long missed 3-point attempt by Wisconsin’s Ben Brust, Appling went to the line and hit one of two free throws for a 59-54 lead with 50 seconds left.
Jared Berggren missed from 3-point range, and Green hit a pair of free throws. Taylor then hit a 3-pointer to cut the Spartans’ lead to 61-57 with 22.6 seconds left. Appling hit a pair of free throws – but Taylor hit another 3-pointer with just over 10 seconds left.
Green missed two free throws before Evans’ desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer appeared to tie it.
Ryan praised Evans for racing to the 3-point line and getting his shot off quickly, a situation they’ve run in practice.
”But you can’t wait until the end of the game to start making shots,” Ryan said.
Izzo said the game was reminiscent of recent memorable clashes between the two schools’ football teams.
”I told the team at the beginning, this is a Michigan State-Wisconsin game,” Izzo said. ”In football and basketball, the first overtime is just the way it’s supposed to be.”