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Ratliff, Indiana snap Wisconsin win streak at 17

Feb 1, 2007 - 5:38 AM BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- A.J. Ratliff made up for a string of sub-par performances in a big way.

Ratliff scored 18 of his season-high 20 points in the second half to lead No. 25 Indiana to a 71-66 victory over second-ranked Wisconsin, which had its school-record 17-game winning streak snapped.

A junior guard who has been plagued by an injury to his right wrist, Ratliff had failed to score in double figures the past four games, managing a high of nine.

Ratliff matched that total in the last 4 1/2 minutes, scoring nine of of his team's final 12 points as Indiana handed Wisconsin (21-2, 7-1 Big Ten) its first loss in conference play.

"I felt somebody had to step up and make plays," Ratliff said. "D.J. (White) made plays and my teammates were counting on me to make the shots. It was opening up and I had all the confidence in the world. Coach had confidence and my teammates had confidence in me."

White, a 6-9, 255-pound junior, sparked the Hoosiers (16-5, 5-3) at the outset of the second half, scoring 10 points in the first 6 1/2 minutes, including a three-point play that put Indiana ahead, 43-40, a lead it would not relinquish.

"Coach told me right after halftime to be more aggressive," White said. "To go to the hole and try to get the foul, and that's what I tried to do."

The Hoosiers surged ahead with an 11-0 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from Ratliff for a 48-40 lead with 11:40 left. Ratliff again hit from the arc two minutes later to build the lead to 53-43.

Wisconsin responded with an 8-0 spurt to cut the lead to 53-51 and finally pulled even on Kammron Taylor's 3-pointer with just under five minutes left.

Ratliff answered that with a shot from the arc to put Indiana ahead to stay, 62-59, and the closest the Badgers could get was within 68-66 on another 3-pointer by Taylor with 1:28 to play.

"Give them credit, they hit the shots," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. "We have been in those same situations, close games on the road and teams didn't hit the shots the way they did in that one streak. We needed to change that momentum. And the way you change that is to get something done at your end.

"When we were playing from behind, that part of it, we haven't had a whole lot of experience."

White added 16 points for the Hoosiers, who shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24) in the second half, including 6-of-7 from Ratliff. Indiana remained unbeaten in 12 home games this season.

"I don't think we have beaten a top-three team since I have been here," Ratliff said. "It's real big for me and my career. It is something that I will remember for a long time."

Alando Tucker scored 23 points but 14 of them came in the first half for the Badgers, who had the nation's longest active winning streak snapped.

Taylor added 16 points and hit four 3-pointers, but the rest of the team was just 1-of-11 from the arc.

"Two keys for us going in were keeping Wisconsin off the free-throw line and, in some way, trying to neutralize Tucker," Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. "He had 23 points tonight, and I think we did a great job on him. You know, if he touches it 10 more times, he's probably going to have 10 more points; that's just how dynamic he is.

"I'm proud of our kids. This was a great win for this group of kids for a lot of reasons."