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Unlikely heroes give Badgers OT victory over rival Gophers

Wisconsin stands tall in comeback overtime victory over rival Minnesota Gophers thanks to unlikely hero

What would the Wisconsin Badgers be without Ethan Happ? For most of the season it’s been a scary proposition, but on Monday night his teammates picked him up in a major way and it led to a 73-63 overtime win against the rival Minnesota Gophers.

Happ had 10 points, but made just two field goals in regulation in this one and the second was a big one, tying the game up with just under six seconds to play. Instead, it was the backcourt duo of Brad Davison and Brevin Pritzl that got the job done on this night.

Pritzl put up a career-high 20 points, while Davison was right behind him with 19 points en route to the win. The junior sharp-shooter hadn’t been sharp most of this season, but continued a hot finish to the season on Monday night.

He dropped six made three-pointers (6-9) including a huge pair of makes in overtime that pulled Wisconsin to a 67-61 lead and the victory. Davison was not far behind, hitting 5 of 8 three-pointers of his own.

Minnesota had a trio of players in double figures, but their inability to do anything down the final six minutes of the game and in to overtime was the big story for the visitors.

The combination of bad shots and stiffening defense by the Badgers was just too much to overcome.

As a team, the Badgers were 12 of 29 from beyond the arc and held Minnesota to just 6 of 16 from three-point land.

Wisconsin overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 5:58 of the game, in large part because of what got them in that hole to begin with — defense.

Davison put up 14 of his 19 points in the first 9:47 of the first half, meanwhile his partner in crime in the backcourt tonight  — Brevin Pritzl — had 12 of his game-high 20 points in the final six-plus minutes of the second half and in to overtime.

Wisconsin has its first multi-game winning streak since winning five in late December and in to January, while also winning back-to-back Big Ten games for the first time this season. The win also guarantees the Badgers a first-round bye in the upcoming Big Ten tournament.

UW’s victory also continued the misery for its rival to the West, as Minnesota picked up its ninth straight loss.

The newly-found confidence of the Badgers will be tested next by a stumbling Northwestern team on Thursday night at 6pm CT on ESPN2.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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