Traevon Jackson brought the ball up the floor with eight seconds to play and took Gary Harris off the dribble, draining a mid-range jumper to put Wisconsin up two.
With 2.1 seconds remaining Travis Trice (13 points) saw his half-court heave bounce off the rim as the Badgers picked up an important 60-58 win at home over No. 9 Michigan State on Sunday afternoon.
Moments before Jackson’s heroics, Adreian Payne (24 points) — in his second game back from a foot injury — connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the score 58-58.
Wisconsin had lost three straight games inside the Kohl Center entering Sunday afternoon and was in fear of falling to 5-6 in Big Ten play with another home loss. That record would have tied the Badgers with Minnesota and Northwestern, both of which defeated Wisconsin in a one-week span at the end of January. The win ties Wisconsin for fourth in the conference with Ohio State with an identical overall record.
Michigan State had a chance to take sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with the win following Michigan’s loss at Iowa on Saturday afternoon.
The Badgers were able to take advantage of a depleted Spartans starting five. Although Payne got off to a hot start, the Wisconsin defense frustrated Gary Harris, who had a miserable afternoon shooting 3-of-20 from the field, including 0-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Wisconsin took a 58-53 lead with 30 seconds left when Frank Kaminsky (10 points, six rebounds) hit a 3-pointer from the wing off a ball screen. After a long Harris 2-pointer, Ben Brust — a 94 percent free throw shooter — missed the front-end of a 1-and-1, setting up Payne’s game-tying three.
This was an important win for Wisconsin, especially given its upcoming conference schedule. The Badgers have a rematch with Minnesota on Thursday night followed by a grueling two-game road trip against No. 10 Michigan and No. 17 Iowa the following week.