MINNEAPOLIS -- Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett had little hope his luckless team would pull out a victory Saturday night, not after it blew a late 13-point lead in an arena where the Badgers hadn't won since 1986.
''Tonight, I thought we were going to lose,'' Bennett admitted. ''When a team comes back from the deficit they had and takes the lead, you really have a sinking feeling.''
Instead, Roy Boone sank an improbable game-winner with less than a second left to rescue the Badgers and lift Wisconsin past Minnesota 66-64 at Williams Arena.
Boone handed Wisconsin (12-10, 4-6 Big Ten) its first regular season sweep of Minnesota in 31 years when he stole the ball, sped upcourt and banked an off-balance 10-footer with eight-tenths of a second left.
Boone, who scored 16 points, wrested the ball from Dusty Rychart underneath the opposite basket with eight seconds remaining and raced upcourt for the thrilling game-winner.
''You could say he threw up a prayer,'' defender Mitch Ohnstad said. ''But it got answered.''
Unable to hit crucial shots, the Badgers had lost six close games this year, including a 51-48 heartbreaker at fifth-ranked Ohio State on Wednesday night.
''It felt good all the way,'' Boone said. ''But with our luck, it could have rattled out.''
Gophers coach Dan Monson said his young team was just too timid in the closing seconds, when they failed to get off a shot, but he told Rychart not to blame himself for losing the ball.
''I told our players, one thing in a game like that you've got to make sure you don't beat yourself up. One play did not lose that game,'' Monson said. ''We lost that as a team. I got a technical. That could have been it. Terrance Simmons got a technical. That could have been it.
''The last play could have been it. One in the first half could have been it,'' Monson said. ''You don't win and lose on one play.''
Wisconsin, which beat the Gophers by 32 points last month in Madison, hadn't won at Williams Arena since Feb. 22, 1986, and hadn't swept the Gophers since the 1968-69 season.
''This hurts even more than the 32-point loss in Madison,'' said Joel Przybilla, the Gophers' 7-foot-1 center who was held to a season-low five points in Minnesota's 85-53 loss at Wisconsin last month, finished with 17 points.
Mike Vershaw also had 16 points for Wisconsin, which led 35-28 at halftime and held a 13-point lead with nine minutes left after Monson was whistled for a technical foul and Jon Bryant sank both penalty shots.
After Monson's outburst, the Gophers went on a 17-2 run to take a 60-58 lead.
''Our intensity picked up but I hope it was going to be that way regardless,'' Monson said. ''I didn't get a technical on purpose to pick up the intensity, I'm just an emotional coach. That's only the second technical of my career. He just said I was on the floor, and I didn't know I was on the floor.''
The Gophers (11-9, 3-7) erased their 56-43 deficit in the most improbable of ways -- from the free-throw line.
The worst free throw shooting team in the Big Ten hit all 15 of its second-half foul shots, including two by its worst foul-shooter, Przybilla, whose two swishes gave Minnesota a 64-61 lead with 54 seconds left.
Bryant, who, like Boone, had been misfiring much too often lately, got a nice pick and tied it with a wide-open 3-pointer 11 seconds later. He had missed 12 of his previous 15 shots from that range.
''Both of us have been struggling with our shooting since the Big Ten started,'' said Bryant, who had missed 12 of 15 from three-point range over the last week.
''It felt really good to have us both make key shots there at the end. We started giving the game away and we needed a big shot,'' Bryant said. ''Fortunately, we got two.''
WISCONSIN 66 (12-10, 4-6)
Kelly 2-2 0-0 4, Bryant 3-7 4-4 12, Boone 6-10 3-5 16, Kowske 4-7 3-3 11, Vershaw 6-11 2-2 16, Penney 0-1 0-0 0, Duany 1-5 0-0 3, Wills 0-0 0-0 0, Linton 1-1 0-0 2, Davis 1-3 0-1 2. Totals 24-47 12-15 66.
MINNESOTA 64 (11-9, 3-7)
Rychart 4-11 2-2 10, Bickerstaff 1-4 0-0 2, Przybilla 5-11 7-8 17, Burleson 2-6 1-1 5, Simmons 5-8 2-2 14, Ohnstad 2-5 7-8 12, Sanden 0-0 0-1 0, Schilling 2-4 0-0 4, Sinville 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-49 19-22 64.
Halftime-- Wisconsin 35, Minnesota 28. 3-Point goals--Wisconsin 6-15 (Bryant 2-5, Boone 1-3, Vershaw 2-3, Penney 0-1, Duany 1-3. Minnesota 3-13 (Rychart 0-1, Burleson 0-3, Simmons 2-4, Ohnstad 1-3, Schilling 0-2), Fouled out-- None. Technical fouls-- Minnesota, Simmons, Minnesota bench. Rebounds-- Wisconsin 26 (Boone 4, Vershaw 4, Penney 4), Minnesota 31 (Rychart 10). Assists-- Wisconsin 15 (Kelley 3, Boone 3, Vershaw 3), Minnesota 13 (Rychart 4). Total Fouls-- Wisconsin 26, Minnesota 18. A--14,563.
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