ANAHEIM, Calif. – Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan will be surrounded by friends and family at the 2014 Final Four after all.
Ryan, who won four NCAA Division III titles at UW-Platteville, has a chance to win his first in 13 seasons at Wisconsin.
The No. 2-seeded Badgers rallied for a 64-63 overtime victory over top-seeded Arizona on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 17,814 at the Honda Center to win the West Regional and secure the first Final Four appearance for Ryan and the program’s first since the unexpected run in 2000.
Wisconsin (30-7) plays Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, against either Michigan (28-8) or Kentucky (27-10).
Tip-off time is to be determined.
Second-seeded Michigan and eighth-seeded Kentucky meet at 5:05 p.m. EDT on Sunday in Indianapolis for the Midwest Regional title.
Arizona finished 33-5.
The victory over the Wildcats comes eight months after the death of Butch Ryan, Bo’s father. Bo Ryan took his father to Final Fours all over the country for three decades.
“He saw us win four national championships,” Ryan said before the game, referring to his time at UW-Platteville. “I don’t care what net you’re cutting down or what it is, it’s like winning a state championship in high school.
“My dad has won enough championships or he won enough when he was coaching, so excellence to him wasn’t so much the trophy.
“It’s all about the experiences that you’re gaining along the way.”
Frank Kaminsky led UW with a terrific performance - 28 points and 11 rebounds. He hit 11 of 20 shots, including a put-back off a miss by Traevon Jackson with 1 minute 11 seconds left to give UW a 64-61 lead.
Reserve Jordin Mayes followed a miss by Nick Johnson to pull Arizona within a point again, this time with 58.4 seconds left.
After an Arizona timeout, Jackson missed a contested drive and Arizona rebounded. T.J. McConnell missed a three-pointer but tracked down his rebound. That led to Johnson driving hard to the basket but he was called for an offensive foul against Josh Gasser with 3.2 seconds left.
Dekker tried to hit Jackson on the inbound pass, but it was contested by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and the ball went out of bounds with 2.3 seconds left. The officials ruled UW ball and after a video review that dragged on for several minutes they reversed the call.
Arizona’s Gabe York got the ball in to Johnson, who dribbled toward the left wing but didn’t get a jumper off in time.
The ball caromed off the rim and UW was headed to Texas.
Jackson added 10 points and five assists for UW.
Ben Brust (1 of 5), Sam Dekker (1 of 3) and Gasser (0 of 2) combined to make just 2 of 10 field-goal attempts in the first half. But Brust hit a crucial three-pointer to give UW a 57-54 lead in the overtime and finished with five points. Dekker finished with seven points and eight rebounds. Gasser had five points and five rebounds.
Johnson led Arizona with 16 points but hit just 6 of 17 shots. Center Kaleb Tarczewski added 12 points and Hollis-Jefferson added 10.
Arizona’s offense was as advertised in the first 20 minutes as the Wildcats built a 28-25 halftime lead.
UW, which shot 50 percent and averaged 76.3 points in its first three tournament games, hit just 10 of 28 shots in the half (35.7 percent).
The Badgers also compounded their problems by sending the Wildcats to the free-throw line.
UW entered the night with more made free throws (613) than attempts by its opponents (541).
However, the Wildcats made eight free throws and had a 28-20 lead before UW went to the line for the first time.
Dekker hit two attempts to cut the deficit to 28-22 with 2:26 left and after an Arizona miss, Kaminsky made 1 of 2 attempts to pull UW within 28-23.
After Tarczewski missed the first of bonus free throws with 1:34 left, Jackson hit a pull-up jumper to pull UW within 28-25.
Another Arizona miss, this time by McConnell, gave UW a chance to forge a tie heading into the break.
Jackson missed a jumper, but Kaminsky grabbed the rebound. He missed and Dekker was unable to finish a reverse after grabbing the miss underneath.
The Wildcats ended the half 8 of 11 from the line compared to 3 of 4 for UW.
The Badgers came in having outscored their first three tournament opponents by a combined 131-77 in the second half.
Would they be able to rally against an Arizona team that came in allowing only 58.4 points per game?
Kaminsky scored seven quick points in the second half to get UW to even at 34-34 with 15:59 left.
Freshman Bronson Koenig buried a jumper from to the top of the key to give UW its first lead, 36-34, with 15:12 left.
Koenig buried a three-pointer from the left corner to give UW a 41-36 lead with 13:10 left and after an Arizona miss Kaminsky missed from in close.
That proved costly as the Wildcats got a three-pointer from McConnell and a put-back from Hollis-Jefferson for a 41-41 tie with 11:28 left.
UW called a quick timeout but an errant pass by Jackson resulted in an over-and-back violation with 11:06 left.
Johnson buried a three-pointer over Jackson to Arizona the lead back, 44-41, with 9:06 left.
Two free throws by Gasser pulled UW within one, but Johnson answered with a wing jumper for a three-point Arizona lead.
Arizona sent UW in the bonus with 5:55 left and the teams began trading points.
A drive by Dekker pulled UW within a point and after a miss by Johnson, Jackson fed Kaminsky for an open three-pointer and a 50-48 lead with 4:29 left.
Hollis-Jefferson scored inside to forge a tie after a missed three-pointer by Gasser.
Gasser made amends with a tip-in for a 52-50 lead that was short-lived as Gordon scored inside for a 52-52 tie with 2:32 left.
Jackson missed inside and the ball went out of bounds off a UW player with 1:58 left. After a video review the officials stood by the call.
Arziona’s Gabe York got free off a curl for a jumper but missed.
Jackson, 3 of 10 at the time, hit a right-handed runner with 1:09 left to give UW a 54-52 lead.
Arizona called a timeout with 57.1 seconds left and 25 seconds left on the shot-clock.
Hollis-Jefferson slammed home an air-ball by Johnson with 34.2 seconds left for the fifth tie of the game.
UW called a timeout with 30.9 seconds left and the shot clock off.
Jackson, who had hit several game-winning shots in his two seasons as a starter, got an open look from the left wing but the ball hit off the rim and bounded away.
Anyone ready for overtime?
Brust hit a three-pointer, his first of the game, for a 57-54 lead, but Gordon, 15 of 43 from three-point range, buried a jumper from beyond the arc for the tie.
Then after Kaminsky scored inside, Gordon followed a miss by McConnell with a dunk for a 59-59 tie with 2:58 left.
Kaminsky scored inside again, this time on a short hook. After Johnson missed a runner, Gasser fought for the rebound and was fouled by Johnson with 1:58 left.
Gasser, an 87.1 percent free-throw shooter, went to the line and hit just 1 of 2 attempts for a three-point lead. Tarczweski hit two free throws with 1:43 left to trim UW’s lead to one.
Kaminsky scored again, this time on a follow of a missed drive by Jackson. But Mayes followed a miss by Johnson to pull Arizona within a point again, this time with 58.4 seconds left, setting the stage from the frantic finish.
“The Final Four won’t be the same without Butch,” UW associate head coach Greg Gard said before the game. “It would be very ironic that first one he is not able to attend, that the Badgers would be there with Bo.
“It would be unreal if we could take care of business for that situation to occur.”
Welcome to the land of the surreal. UW is going back to the Final Four, led by Bo Ryan.
©2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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