Golden Hurricane Drops 61-60 Heartbreaker To Wisconsin
March 22, 2003
By TIM KORTE
SPOKANE, Wash. - Freddie Owens' ankle was sore, but his shooting hand was just fine.
The Wisconsin Badgers' guard swished a 3-pointer with 1 second to play, capping a late rally and lifting fifth-seeded Wisconsin to a 61-60 victory over No. 13 Tulsa to move the Badgers into the Midwest Regional semifinals.
"When I let it go, I couldn't see the basket," Owens said. "I saw it go in. You work on those shots and things like that every day, and this is the payoff."
The Badgers (24-7), making a school-record fifth straight NCAA appearance, advanced to play Thursday in Minneapolis against the winner of Sunday's game in Nashville between Kentucky and Utah.
Wisconsin fans chanted, "Freddie, Freddie," as Owens did a courtside radio interview. He sprained his right ankle in Wisconsin's opening-round win over Weber State and his status was unclear until he suited up.
"If I put a guy on the floor, I expect him to go," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said.
Mike Wilkinson had 18 points and eight rebounds for Wisconsin, which trailed by 13 with four minutes to go. Devin Harris scored 12 and Alando Tucker had 10 as the Badgers survived despite a six-point effort by their best player, Kirk Penney.
"This will be one they'll talk about for a long time," Ryan said, recalling what he told his players during a timeout just before they rallied.
Owens said the ankle bothered him. He played wearing a lace-up brace, but it wasn't enough to keep him on the bench.
"I can't feel anything right now," he said. "I didn't care how bad it was feeling. I was going to give it my all."
Kevin Johnson scored 23 points and Jason Parker had 17 for Tulsa (23-10),
the lowest-seeded team to advance past the first round. The Golden Hurricane
were in control, leading 58-45 with 4:08 to play.
"Having this game in our faces and then having it taken away, that's going to hurt for a while," Johnson said.
The Badgers, in a daze for the first 36 minutes, rallied with an 11-0 run to pull to 58-56. After Johnson scored for Tulsa, Harris drove for a layup with 48.2 seconds to play to make it 60-58. Tucker sparked the comeback, scoring four points and forcing a turnover.
When Parker missed the rim on a runner, the shot clock violation gave possession back to Wisconsin.
After a timeout with 12.1 seconds to go, Harris dribbled upcourt, drew three defenders and, after briefly thinking about a shot for himself, found Owens wide open in the left corner.
"I looked over and there was Freddie, sitting there, eyes wide as I don't know what," Harris said.
Owens was 4-of-16 in the tournament until making the game winner.
"They rotated so hard there was nothing on the ball side. For Devin, that's a decision point," Owens said. "There were five blue jerseys in the paint, so the opposite corner was open. Devin knew that."
Tulsa took a timeout to set up a final play, but Jarius Glenn was whistled for stepping over the baseline. The Badgers started celebrating, and Owens took the ensuing inbounds pass and threw the ball into the air.
"This is one you tell your kids and grandkids about in the future," Owens said.
He was mobbed by teammates as Tulsa players walked dejectedly off the court.
"I saw Harris drive and saw him dish it out," Glenn said. "I saw him wide open in the corner. He shot it so high, I didn't know if it would ever come down. It felt like the longest time. He hit a big shot."
Tulsa was in control all day, using speed and athleticism to dictate the tempo. After surprising No. 4 seeded Dayton in the opener, the Hurricane were in position for another upset.
Parker had 15 points by halftime, when Tulsa led 32-25 and Johnson scored 19 after the break as the Hurricane built their big lead.
Johnson rebounded a miss by Parker to put Tulsa ahead 49-38 with 8:30 remaining, then extended the margin to 55-45 when he collected another rebound and scored. On the next possession, Johnson swished a 3-pointer to make it 58-45 with 4:08 to play.
Out of nowhere, the Badgers came to life. It started with a 3-pointer by Harris. Tucker made two free throws and scored inside to pull Wisconsin to 58-52.
"I really couldn't tell you what happened," Tulsa guard Dante Swanson said. "We tried to spread the floor and run some time off the clock, but they played great defense down the stretch."
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