Wisconsin routs Northwestern to advance to B1G title game

WASHINGTON — The Wisconsin men’s basketball team took advantage of a weary Northwestern squad to pick up a 76-48 win Saturday in a Big Ten tournament semifinal game.

The Wildcats had just come off a late night battle with Maryland, and the fatigue showed all game long. The Badgers’ defense was suffocating at times, forcing 12 turnovers, converting those miscues into 11 points. But the Northwestern defense was strong at times, too, forcing Wisconsin into 29 three-point attempts on the day. But the Badgers took advantage, knocking down 12 (41.4 percent) of them.

Nigel Hayes was the high point man, delivering 18 for the Badgers, along with 10 rebounds. Ethan Happ finished with 16 points and eight boards as a complement to Wisconsin’s outside shooting. The Badgers got 22 of their points in the paint, as compared with the Wildcats’ 16.

Wisconsin advances to the Big Ten tournament finale where they’ll meet Michigan Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. The Wolverines will be playing their fourth game in as many days — a factor that would seem to benefit the Badgers, given the result against Northwestern. It’s Wisconsin’s third appearance in the conference title game in the last five years.