INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Mike Tisdale scored 21 points and Demetri McCamey had 13 as fifth-seeded Illinois hung on for a 58-54 upset of No. 13 Wisconsin in Friday's Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
The Fighting Illini (19-13) are hoping the win solidifies their NCAA hopes.
Illinois faces No. 5 Ohio State in Saturday's semifinals. After sharing the regular-season title with No. 6 Purdue and No. 11 Michigan State, the top-seeded Buckeyes needed a 37-foot buzzer-beater from Big Ten player of the year Evan Turner to eliminate Michigan 69-68.
It was nearly as tough for Illinois.
Wisconsin (23-8) was led by Trevon Hughes and Jon Leuer, each with 14 points. Hughes led a frantic flurry in the closing minutes that got the Badgers in position to force overtime. But Jason Bohannon's 3-pointer with 15.9 seconds left clanked off the front of the rim, Mike Davis grabbed the rebound for Illinois, made 1 of 2 free throws and the Illini hung on.
The loss ended Wisconsin's four-game winning streak and prevented coach Bo Ryan from earning his 600th career win.
But it was a surprise the Badgers were that close after shooting 28.6 percent from the field in the game and going 6 of 33 from the field in the first half.
Illinois took its biggest lead of the game at 46-30 when Brandon Paul hit a 3-pointer with 6:44 left.
That's when the Badgers finally jump-started. Jordan Taylor and Bohannon hit back-to-back 3s and Leuer followed with a 19-footer to make it 46-38 with 3:58 to go.
The Illini rebuilt a 50-38 lead, but then Hughes almost single-handedly shot the Badgers back into the game.
Hughes and Keaton Nankivil knocked down five consecutive 3s for Wisconsin, the last coming when the 6-foot guard hit an arching rainbow jumper over 6-foot-9 Bill Cole with 31.4 seconds left. Suddenly, the Badgers were within 56-54.
Hughes fouled out on Illinois' next possession, sending Jeff Jordan to the free-throw line. Jordan made the first but missed the second, giving Bohannon a chance to tie it from the right wing.
But Bohannon missed, Davis grabbed the loose ball and the Badgers never got another chance to tie it.