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No. 14 Wisconsin bests Illinois

Mar 4, 2012 - 10:23 PM Madison, WI (Sports Network) - Josh Gasser scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and No. 14 Wisconsin bested Illinois, 70-56, on Sunday.

Jordan Taylor also had 16 points and Jared Berggren contributed 12 for the Badgers (23-8, 12-6 Big Ten), who finished regular season play by winning three in a row and four of five.

Ryan Evans added 10 points for Wisconsin, which had secured a bye in the Big Ten Conference Tournament prior to Sunday's game.

Brandon Paul paced all scorers with 22 points for the Illini (17-14, 6-12), who ended their regular season losing eight of nine. Joseph Bertrand donated 10 and Meyers Leonard had a game-high 12 boards for Illinois, which will enter Thursday's Big Ten tourney as the nine seed, playing eighth-seeded Iowa.

Wisconsin's victory was the 265th for head coach Bo Ryan, tying Bud Foster for the most in school history.

"It's definitely a cool thing, especially a team with as much talent as Illinois," said Taylor of holding the Illini to 18 first-half points. "Brandon Paul and Meyers Leonard are two of the better players in the league. We did a good job pressuring the ball a little bit and also helping each other out on the backside."

The Badgers led for all but one possession, when Paul's jumper tied the game for Illinois at 2-2.

Berggren netted one of two free-throws 15 seconds later, part of a 14-2 Badgers run to open the game. They never looked back, and held a 31-18 edge at halftime.

The Illini remained within striking distance throughout the second half, never trailing by more than 17 points.

However, they cut their deficit to single digits just twice, at the 15:47 and 14:39 marks, and were never closer than nine.

"We had a couple breakdowns defensively, things we had gone over," said Illinois head coach Bruce Weber. "We made a push, got it to eight or nine, Tracy Abrams had a lay-up, missed it. It was that kind of game that gave them the lead; they are so good with it, so poised."

Game Notes

Illinois leads the all-time series 110-77. Wisconsin has won three straight...Leonard finished with eight points...The Illini have lost seven straight against ranked opponents. Their last win was over No. 11 Wisconsin on February 9, 2010.