WASHINGTON (AP) Wisconsin revved up the defense against weary Northwestern and got the desired result, a 76-48 victory Saturday that earned the No. 24 Badgers a berth in the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the third time in five years.
Nigel Hayes scored 18 points and Ethan Happ added 16 for the second-seeded Badgers. They never trailed in their third straight victory – second in the tournament – following a run of five losses in six games.
Wisconsin (25-8) will vie for its fourth Big Ten title Sunday against No. 8 seed Michigan, which will be playing its fourth game in four days. It will be the seventh championship game appearance for the Badgers, trailing only the eight by Ohio State.
Northwestern (23-11) was playing for the second time in less than 24 hours and third game in three days, and it showed. Coming off wins over Rutgers and No. 3 seed Maryland, the Wildcats missed 20 of 27 shots in the first half, had only one assist and trailed 38-21.
Scottie Lindsey scored 16 points for Northwestern.