Hepburn scores 19, Wisconsin tops Penn State 79-74 in OT

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Chucky Hepburn scored 19 points and Connor Essegian added 18, the two combining for nine of Wisconsin’s 11 3-pointers in a 79-74 overtime victory over Penn State on Wednesday night.

After a layup by Max Klesmit gave Wisconsin a 76-72 lead with 44 seconds remaining in overtime, Penn State’s Camren Wynter missed a 3-pointer and the Badgers closed out the victory at the free-throw line.

Hepburn made 5 of 9 3-pointers and Essegian 4 of 7 for the Badgers, who were 11 of 24 from 3-point distance. Tyler Wahl had 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Wisconsin (14-9, 6-7 Big Ten) and Steven Crowl added 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Jalen Pickett, who earlier this week was named one of 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, had 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Penn State (14-10, 5-8). Seth Lundy added 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals, making 4 of 8 3-pointers. Camren Wynter scored 15 points and Andrew Funk 10.

With 59 seconds left in regulation and the score tied at 65, Essegian forced a turnover by Wynter. Wisconsin called timeout with 44 seconds remaining, setting up a 3-pointer by Hepburn. Lundy hit a tying 3-pointer with 23 seconds left and Wisconsin played for the last shot but did not score.

In beating Penn State for the fifth consecutive time, Wisconsin swept the season series and handed the Nittany Lions their second home loss in 13 games. Wisconsin had lost seven of nine previous games coming in.

Wisconsin plays at Nebraska on Saturday, the same day that Penn State plays at Maryland.

Wisconsin continues domination over Penn State with 63-60 win

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

MADISON, Wisc. – Steven Crowl scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Wisconsin held on to continue its Madison mastery over Penn State, beating the Nittany Lions 63-60.

Tyler Wahl returned to the lineup for Wisconsin (12-5, 4-3 Big Ten) following a three-game absence from the lineup due to injury in which the Badgers lost all three. Wahl had 10 points and finished 3-for-10 shooting but buried his lone 3-point attempt.

Chucky Hepburn scored 13 points for Wisconsin and Connor Essegian 10.

Hepburn made two foul shots with seven seconds left to cap the scoring. Following a Penn State (12-6, 3-4) timeout, Andrew Funk’s 3 attempt bounced off the back of the rim and Jordan Davis secured the long rebound to end it.

Myles Dread’s 3-pointer with 2:38 remaining reduced the Nittany Lions’ deficit to 61-60, but Penn State failed to score again as it missed its last four-shot attempts and committed a turnover.

Jalen Pickett scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Penn State. Funk finished with 16 points shooting 3 for 8 from beyond the arc and Dread, a reserve, scored 11.

Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of the debut of the Kohl Center where Wisconsin moved its record to 19-0 against Penn State. The Nittany Lions haven’t beaten Wisconsin since 1995 in the Badgers’ former home the Field House.

The Badgers are 23-2 all-time against Penn State at Wisconsin.

Wisconsin suffocated Northwestern 56-33 in the Kohl Center’s debut on Jan. 17, 1998.

The Nittany Lions host Nebraska on Saturday. Wisconsin travels to Northwestern on Saturday.

Michigan State rallies for 69-65 win at No. 18 Wisconsin

Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

MADISON, Wis. – Michigan State was trailing No. 18 Wisconsin by five points with less than four minutes to go when Spartans coach Tom Izzo delivered a message to his veteran team.

“Once we all kind of came into the huddle, coach said to us, `We’re winning this game,”‘ senior forward Malik Hall said. “After that, everyone just kind of said, `Hey, we’ve got to do everything we can to win this game.”‘

A.J. Hoggard made a tiebreaking layup with 41 seconds left and Michigan State rallied past the Badgers 69-65 on Tuesday night for its seventh consecutive victory.

Wisconsin (11-4, 3-2 Big Ten) was playing its second straight game without leading scorer Tyler Wahl. The Badgers have gone 0-2 without him, and coach Greg Gard had no update on when Wahl might return.

“He’s doing more and more every day,” Gard said. “But in terms of will he be available Saturday, I don’t know.”

Michigan State (12-4, 4-1) made its last eight field-goal attempts and went 16 of 17 from the foul line to win a nip-and-tuck game that featured 14 lead changes. Neither team led by more than six points.

Izzo credited his Spartans’ experience to come through down the stretch. They were playing away from home for the first time since a Dec. 7 victory at Penn State that started their win streak.

“Experience matters, it really does, especially in this day and age,” Izzo said. “What I’ve got a little different from some is my guys have played together. It’s not a factory of guys running in and running out. Those guys had a feel for one another. The huddles were pretty good that way. They were challenging each other. And that was big for us.”

It helped them respond to Izzo’s challenge.

“We’ve been through some stuff, had some guys down, had to have guys step up, and we’ve been in tight games,” said Joey Houser, who led all scorers with 20 points. “It’s a belief that we’re going to come back, we’re going to get stops and we’re going to make big buckets. Coach can say it as much as he wants, but until the guys start believing it, it’s not going to matter much. But this team believes we’re going to make the winning plays.”

Tyson Walker added 13 points, Jaden Akins 12 and Hoggard 10 for Michigan State.

Steven Crowl led Wisconsin with 19 points, followed by Chucky Hepburn’s 14 and Connor Essegian’s 13 points.

The score was tied at 63 when Hoggard made a move around Crowl in the paint and delivered the basket that put the Spartans ahead for good. After Hepburn missed a 3-pointer, Hoggard made two free throws to move the lead to 67-63 with 28 seconds left.

Wisconsin’s Max Klesmit made both ends of a one-and-one to cut the lead to 67-65 with 13.5 seconds remaining before Walker sank two free throws to complete the scoring with 12.6 seconds left.

It was a rare narrow loss for the Badgers, who are 18-6 over the last two seasons in games decided by five points or fewer. Gard said the difference this time was simple.

“We didn’t execute the last 10 possesions of the game on both ends of the floor like we have in the past,” Gard said.


Michigan State: The Spartans had been winning games with defense., with opponents shooting just 36.4% overall and 23.4% from 3-point range during their last six victories. But they won this one with great shots and offensive execution down the stretch.

Wisconsin: The Badgers proved they could compete with quality teams even without Wahl, who also missed the Badgers’ 79-69 loss at Illinois on Saturday. But a 33-18 rebounding deficit was too much to overcome.


Michigan State center Mady Sissoko went to the locker room late in the first half after taking a hit to the face. He received five stitches above his right eye before returning to play the second half. He ended up with six points and 11 rebounds.


Michigan State should enter the AP Top 25 if it wins Friday. Wisconsin probably needs to win Saturday to stay in the poll.


Michigan State: At Illinois on Friday.

Wisconsin: At Indiana on Saturday.

Hilliard leaving Wisconsin women’s team for personal reasons

Sydney Hilliard

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin senior guard Sydney Hilliard has announced that she’s leaving the team for personal reasons.

“I have decided that it is time for me to step away from the game of basketball, so I can concentrate on my own well-being,” Hilliard said Sunday in a statement released by the university. “This was not a decision I took lightly, and I am looking forward to earning my degree in the coming months and moving toward the next chapter of my life. The love and support of my family, friends, Badger teammates and coaches has meant the world to me, and I’ll always be grateful to all of them.”

Hilliard had started 67 career games for Wisconsin with averages of 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists. After missing Wisconsin’s first eight games this season while recovering from a knee injury, Hilliard had returned to average 5.9 points, 3 rebounds and 21.7 minutes over seven games.

She had averaged 9.2 points in 2019-20, 15.5 points in 2020-21 and 12.8 points in 2021-22.

“I have complete understanding and respect for Syd’s decision,” Wisconsin coach Marisa Moseley said in a statement. “She is a wonderful young woman with a bright future ahead of her. I admire her for having the courage to do what she feels is best for her. We will miss her in our program but we all wish her the best moving forward. She knows she will always have our support.”

Wisconsin (5-11, 1-4 Big Ten) won 81-77 over Minnesota (8-8, 1-4) on Sunday while playing without Hilliard.

Wisconsin adds Wofford transfer Max Klesmit to its backcourt

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin has added former Wofford guard Max Klesmit as the Badgers continue reshaping their roster.

Klesmit, who is from Neenah, Wisconsin, scored 14.9 points per game for Wofford this past season and earned third-team all-Southern Conference honors. The 6-foot-3 Klesmit also had 2.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

He had 8.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game as a freshman in 2020-21.

This announcement comes three weeks after Wisconsin added Green Bay transfer Kamari McGee, a 6-foot guard from Racine who averaged 11.6 points for the Phoenix this past season.

Wisconsin must replace All-America guard Johnny Davis and second-leading scorer Brad Davison from a team that went 25-8, won a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and reached the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32 during the 2021-22 campaign.

Kamari McGee transferring from Green Bay to Wisconsin


MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin has added Green Bay transfer Kamari McGee, a 6-foot guard who averaged 11.6 points in his lone season with the Phoenix.

McGee, who is from Racine, Wisconsin, made the Horizon League’s all-freshman team this season. He shot 38.8% from the floor and made 80.8% of his free throws.

“He is a leader and role model in his community of Racine and is a motivated student, who will thrive both on and off the floor here at Wisconsin,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said in a statement. “A ferocious competitor, Kamari makes his presence felt on the defensive end of the floor. He also brings experience and leadership to our backcourt, which is vital to our team’s success.”

Wisconsin must replace All-America guard Johnny Davis and second-leading scorer Brad Davison from a team that went 25-8, won a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and reached the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32 this season.

The Badgers’ depth has taken a hit with Lorne Bowman II, Ben Carlson and Matthew Mors entering the transfer portal. Bowman has since committed to Oakland while Mors is heading to South Dakota State.