PISCATAWAY, N.J. – In becoming the first Top 5 team to lose to Rutgers, No. 4 Wisconsin discovered just how vulnerable it can be.
Shorthanded because a couple of injuries and overwhelmed by the Scarlet Knights' hot shooting in the second half, the Badgers allowed a 14-point first-half lead to disappear in a 67-62 loss on Sunday night that turned into Rutgers' greatest upset.
The highest ranked team Rutgers had previously beaten was No. 6 Virginia in February 1982.
"It's a great win for the program," said a teary-eyed Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan, a member of the Scarlet Knights Final Four team in 1976. "Our crowd was here to witness it. Hopefully it leaves a taste in their mouth and they want more."
Despite not having center Frank Kaminsky for the entire game because of a concussion, and missing point guard Traevon Jackson down the stretch because of a foot injury, the Badgers (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) were not making excuses.
"We let this one slip away," said forward Sam Dekker, who had 15 points along with Nigel Hayes. "We didn't play well down the stretch, we didn't have a good second half whatsoever, but we have to bounce back. "
The Badgers stormed to a 29-15 lead, as Kaminsky's absence was hardly noticed. But Rutgers (10-7, 2-2) rallied with a big second half led by Myles Mack, who had 19 of his 21 points. Kadeem Jack added 20 points for the Scarlet Knights, who shot 67 percent in the final 20 minutes in overcoming a 12-point halftime deficit.
A couple of dozen fans ran on the court after the final buzzer but the crowd of 6,887 was remarkably well-restrained, possibly wondering how a team that lost to St. Peter's and St. Francis (Pa.) earlier this season, knocked off a team that went to the Final Four last year.
"I think we saw N.C. State upset Duke and we kind of said that's gonna be us with the whole rushing in the floor and stuff like that," Jack said of the Wolfpack's win over the No. 2 Blue Devils earlier Sunday.