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Ahearn, Missouri State hold off Wisconsin

Nov 24, 2006 - 7:42 PM SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (Ticker) -- Blake Ahearn and Missouri State got off to a fast start and held on for a big win against a ranked opponent.

Ahearn scored 25 points as the Bears survived a cold-shooting second half to post a 66-64 victory over seventh-ranked Wisconsin in the semifinals of the South Padre Invitational.

Ahearn scored 19 points in the first half as Missouri State jumped all over Wisconsin, leading by as many as 19 points before settling for a 45-32 halftime advantage.

The Badgers fought back with a 17-6 run to open the second half and took their first lead at 57-55 on a jumper by Joe Krabbenhoft with 6:51 to play.

Krabbenhoft added a layup 30 seconds later to extend the lead to four before Ahearn made it 59-57 on his first basket of the second half with just over six minutes remaining.

The Bears shot 64 percent (14-of-22) in the first half but came out cold after the break, making just five of their first 24 shots. They rediscovered their range when they needed it and denied Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan his 500th career win.

Spencer Laurie gave Missouri State the lead for good, 63-62, with a layup with 2:27 to go. Nathan Bilyeu made a jumper and split a pair from the line to make it 66-63 with 1:05 left.

Alando Tucker scored 26 points, including 17 in the second half, to help the Badgers climb back in it. But he missed a 3-pointer from the corner that would have tied it in the closing seconds.

Michael Flowers was the only other Badger in double figures, scoring 10 points with six assists.

Ahearn was 3-of-3 from the arc in the first half, helping the Bears uilta 19-point bulge with 1:04 remaining before the Badgers scored six straight points.

Wisconsin's largest lead was 62-57 with 5:24 to play on a three-point play by Tucker, who was 10-of-19 from the field and added six rebounds.

Ryan will try to become the 15th active Division I coach to record 500 wins Tuesday, when Wisconsin hosts Florida State.

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