North Texas reaches NIT finals, shuts down Wisconsin 56-54
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tylor Perry scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half, Rubin Jones scored all 12 of his after halftime and North Texas closed on a 10-0 run to beat Wisconsin 56-54 on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the NIT.
North Texas (30-7) advances to the program’s first NIT championship game on Thursday. Conference USA is now 16-1 this postseason.
North Texas, which trailed 41-29 at halftime, took its first lead of the game at 56-54 with 2:08 remaining on Moulaye Sissoko’s shot in the lane to cap a 10-0 run.
Wisconsin forward Tyler Wahl missed two free throws with 49.1 seconds left and North Texas worked the clock down before Perry had it poked away. Wahl had a shot blocked at the rim, but Wisconsin secured the loose ball and called a timeout with 5.8 left. Wisconsin got it inside to Wahl but Sissoko knocked it away and dove on the ball to end it.
The Mean Green, the nation’s leader in scoring defense at 55.7 points per game, held Wisconsin without a point for the final 9:07 of the game. The Badgers made just one of their last 16 shots — with 10 straight misses.
Chucky Hepburn scored all 15 of his points in the first half for Wisconsin (20-15), which was making its first appearance in the NIT semifinals.
Wisconsin dropped to 13-8 this season in games decided by five points or fewer.