Jackson hits game-winner to beat MSU

GENARO C. ARMAS AP Sports Writer Published:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- In the closing seconds of a close game, Traevon Jackson takes the big shots for Wisconsin.

Doesn't matter if the point guard had been struggling in recent weeks with his shot. Or if he's having a tough day handling the ball, as he did Sunday with five turnovers against Michigan State. Coach Bo Ryan trusts the tough junior.

Jackson rewarded his coach's confidence Sunday after hitting a pull-up jumper from about 10 feet with 2.1 seconds left to lift the Badgers to a 60-58 win over the ninth-ranked Spartans.

"That's sort of what they expected out of me is just to finish the game," Jacksons said. "The pull-up was there, and I was blessed to be able to make it go in."

Jackson's jumper with Gary Harris in his face capped a frenetic final minute in which Michigan State's Adreian Payne tied it with a 3 with 10 seconds left.

A desperation 3 by Michigan State from midcourt banged off the rim as time expired, and the Wisconsin faithful erupted with applause. The victory snapped a three-game losing skid at home.

"Just (because) they lost a couple of home games -- and that's un-American in the Cheesehead State -- don't kid yourself. They're a very good team," coach Tom Izzo said.

The Badgers (19-5, 6-5 Big Ten) committed 14 turnovers, six more than their NCAA-leading 8.3 per game, but gutted out a win over the Spartans (20-4, 9-2).

Jackson hit three game-tying or winning jumpers in his first year at the point last season as a sophomore. He's the go-to guy in the clutch again this year.

"We executed that last 3-pointer as well as we've executed any play in the last 10 years," Izzo said. "I've watched two years' worth of Jackson hitting game-winning shots, so I put my best defender on him. And he hit another one."

Still, the Badgers had every right to be nervous. More than week ago in a similar spot in a loss to Ohio State, a defended Jackson had to pass up a final shot to teammate Sam Dekker, who missed a rushed 3 at the buzzer.

Jackson also went through a rough 12-of-45 shooting stretch, during which Wisconsin went 1-4.

But he's 7 of 12 now over his last two games, both Badgers wins. After a tough stretch of five losses in six games, Wisconsin clawed its way to a second straight victory.

Jackson finished with seven points and tied a career high with eight assists, but had five turnovers. No matter to Ryan.

"His decision-making has been a little sporadic at times, but in a last-second situation, if it starts in his hands, I feel very confident we're going to get something," Ryan said.

Freshman Nigel Hayes led Wisconsin with 14 points off the bench. Dekker added 11.

Payne led Michigan State with 24 points.

Travis Trice added 13 points for Michigan State, though Big Ten-leading scorer Harris was held to six points on 3-of-20 shooting after being shadowed most of the afternoon by defensive specialist Josh Gasser.

It was a tough day on both ends of the floor for Harris, who was guarding Jackson on the last play. Jackson veered left of the lane and pulled up for his game-winner.

"I don't blame Gary for that. ... You couldn't double him, because they've got so many shooters," Izzo said.

And yet Michigan State still had a chance late, even with guard Keith Appling sitting out a second straight game with a wrist injury.

Harris' long bucket with about 23 seconds left -- one of his few bright spots on the afternoon -- got the Spartans within three.

Wisconsin had a chance to turn it into a two-possession game, but Ben Brust -- a 94 percent foul shooter -- missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Michigan State secured the rebound and called timeout.

Izzo drew up a play that ended up with Payne holding the ball. He had burned Wisconsin much of the night on the inside.

This time Payne hit from the outside with 10 seconds left and the Badgers faithful thought they were witnessing another late collapse at home.

Instead, Jackson was clutch, helping to end Michigan State's five-game winning streak against Wisconsin.

"I'm inbounding, he's the first guy I'm looking for," Gasser said. "There's a bunch of guys that want to take it, but I think Trae really, really wants to take it."

No. 1 SYRACUSE 57, CLEMSON 44

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- C.J. Fair scored 19 points, Jerami Grant added 12 and top-ranked Syracuse beat Clemson 57-44 on Sunday night to remain unbeaten.

Syracuse (23-0, 10-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) extended its school record for wins to start a season and matched the program mark for consecutive wins, established in the 1916-17 and 1917-18 seasons.

It was the 10th time Clemson (15-7, 6-4) had faced the No. 1 team in the nation, and the Tigers have yet to win. The last time Clemson played a No. 1 team was against North Carolina, an 86-81 loss in the 2008 ACC tournament.

No. 2 ARIZONA 76, OREGON ST. 54

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Aaron Gordon had 17 points, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 16 and Arizona found its shooting touch in a win over Oregon State.

After two weeks of struggles on offense, Arizona (23-1, 10-1 Pac-12) finally found some answers in its second game without injured forward Brandon Ashley.

Oregon State (13-10, 5-6) had little chance against the athletic Wildcats, unable to spring Roberto Nelson or chip away at Arizona's 10-point halftime lead.

ST. JOHN'S 70, No. 12 CREIGHTON 65

NEW YORK -- D'Angelo Harrison scored 19 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:08 to play, and St. John's beat Creighton for its sixth win in seven games.

Chris Obekpa tied his career high with 11 points for the Red Storm (15-9, 5-6 Big East), who avenged their only loss during that seven-game stretch.

Doug McDermott matched his nation-leading average with 25 points for the Bluejays (19-4, 9-2), who had won 14 of 15 and were tied for first place in the conference with Villanova.

No. 22 UCONN 75, UCF 55

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Lasan Kromah and Shabazz Napier each had 17 points and seven rebounds as Connecticut easily defeated skidding Central Florida.

DeAndre Daniels had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Huskies (18-5, 6-4 American Athletic Conference), and Ryan Boatright scored 11. UConn led by 17 at halftime and withstood a mild second-half rally by the Knights to win for the fourth time in five games.

Isaiah Sykes led UCF (9-11, 1-8) with 17 points and reserve Justin McBride added 13, all in the second half.

BIG 10 SCHOOLS

ILLINOIS 60, PENN STATE 55

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Kendrick Nunn scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half and Illinois halted its eight-game losing streak with a 60-55 victory over Penn State on Sunday.

Nunn, averaging 4.1 points per game, was 7 for 13 from the field and made four 3-pointers for Illinois (14-10, 3-8 Big Ten). Malcolm Hill added 11 and Rayvonte Rice nine for the Illini.

Penn State (12-12, 3-8), which has lost two straight games after a modest three-game conference win streak, was led by 19 points from D.J. Newbill and 11 from Tim Frazier.

MAC TEAMS

AKRON 65, BOWLING GREEN 63

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- Quincy Diggs hit a game-winning long-range jumper with 2.3 seconds left as Akron hung on to beat Bowling Green 65-63 on Sunday.

Diggs finished with 14 points for Akron (16-7, 8-2 Mid-American Conference) and Demetrius Treadwell added 12 and 10 rebounds. It was Treadwell's seventh double-double in his last eight games.

Clarke led Bowling Green (10-13, 4-6) with 19 points.

WESTERN MICHIGAN 74, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 71

DEKALB, Ill. -- David Brown scored 26 points, hitting 5 of 8 from 3-point range, as Western Michigan held on for a 74-71 win over Northern Illinois on Sunday.

Western Michigan (14-8, 7-3 Mid-American) led by as many as 16 in the second half and was up by 12 with less than 6 minutes to play but Northern Illinois went on an 11-1 run to come within 71-69 with 2:04 left.

Missed free throws by Western Michigan gave Northern Illinois (10-12, 4-6) chances to tie the game in the waning seconds but the Huskies missed a pair of 3-pointers, including a potential game-tying 3 at the buzzer by Aaric Armstead.

OHIO COLLEGES

DETROIT 83, YOUNGSTOWN STATE 81

DETROIT -- Juwan Howard, Jr. scored 24 points, including 6 in overtime, to lead Detroit over Youngstown State 83-81 on Sunday.

Detroit (12-14, 5-6 Horizon) closed the first half with an 11-4 run, including treys by Howard and Carlton Brundidge, to take a 40-30 lead at the intermission.

Amiker led Youngstown State (13-12, 4-6) with 25 points, while Perry added 22.

OTHER COLLEGES

VALPARAISO 63, OAKLAND 60

VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Clay Yeo hit four 3-pointers and his last was the game-winner with 7 seconds left to lift Valparaiso to a 63-60 win Sunday over Oakland.

Alec Peters scored 13 points and Yeo 12 for Valparaiso (15-11, 7-4 Horizon League). LaVonte Dority added 11 points and dished out five assists. Capobianco finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Travis Bader and Corey Petros each scored 14 points to lead Oakland (9-17, 4-7). Kahlil Felder added 12 for the Grizzlies.

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