Aleem Ford scored a season-high 17 points, Brad Davison added 15 points, and the duo combined to drill eight 3-pointers to help Wisconsin edge Penn State 75-74 on Thursday in a Big Ten tournament second-round game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The sixth-seeded Badgers (17-11) advanced to face Iowa, ranked fifth in the nation and the tournament's third seed, in a quarterfinal on Friday.
It wasn't an easy endeavor for Wisconsin.
The 11th-seeded Nittany Lions (11-14) trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half but trimmed the deficit to one on a Sam Sessoms layup with 46 seconds to go, capping a 17-2 run.
Nate Reuvers stole a pass from Sessoms, who led all scorers with 18 points, in the final second. Davison corralled the ball and called timeout while falling out of bounds to preserve the victory.
Penn State shot 48.3 percent compared with 46.3 percent for Wisconsin and won the rebounding battle 34-25. Still, the Badgers hit 12 3-pointers.
A shaky start from the field threatened to sink the Badgers, who made just five of their first 20 attempts from the floor and trailed by as many as eight in the first half.
Things steadied over the final 4:56 before intermission, however, as the Badgers used an 18-3 run to take a 41-31 lead into the break.
Ford scored all of his eight first-half points during the spurt, including a trey that beat the buzzer. Reuvers also sprang to life, hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the last four minutes of the half.
Overall, Wisconsin closed the first half hitting 7 of 8 from the field while limiting Penn State to no field goals over the last 2:37.
Myreon Jones (11 points) and Jamari Wheeler (10) also finished in double figures for the Nittany Lions, while John Harrar snagged a game-high 10 boards. Izaiah Brockington finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
Jonathan Davis scored 10 points for the Badgers, and D'Mitrik Trice finished with nine assists.
Wisconsin lost both regular season meetings against Iowa, losing by 15 points at home before falling by four on the road on Sunday.
--Field Level Media
|Sam Sessoms 18||Scoring||Aleem Ford 17|
|Myreon Jones 4||Assists||D'Mitrik Trice 9|
|John Harrar 10||Rebounds||Tyler Wahl 5|
|Izaiah Brockington 5||Free Throws Made||Brad Davison 6|
|Izaiah Brockington 1||Steals||Tyler Wahl 2|
|Myles Dread 2||Blocks||Nate Reuvers 2|