PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Duje Dukan thought he had created a turnover with a held ball. The referees said he was guilty of a foul instead.
It’s a play that won’t make highlight reels, won’t get pointed to in any boxscore.
But it sparked No. 2 Wisconsin into finding a way to survive its first test this season.
Sam Dekker scored 17 points, Nigel Hayes’ acrobatic tip-in with 20 seconds left capped his 15-point day, and Wisconsin overcame a nine-point second-half deficit to beat upset-minded Georgetown 68-65 on Thursday in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals.
“I have bruises,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “And I was watching.”
The Badgers hadn’t trailed in the second half this season, but found themselves down 53-44 with 11:36 left. A 22-6 run put Wisconsin (5-0) up for good, and the Badgers could finally exhale when D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s 3-pointer rimmed out as time expired.
Smith-Rivera, who was 5 for 5 from beyond the arc until the game’s final shot, led all scorers with 29 for Georgetown (4-1).
“It was a fairly good look,” Smith-Rivera said. “I knew they were going to trap me coming off the screen, so I kind of wanted to take them away and come back and get a better look at the basket. But it didn’t go down.”
Wisconsin will face Oklahoma in Friday’s title game. Georgetown, which got 10 points from Joshua Smith, will play Butler in an all-Big East matchup for third place.
“These first two games have felt like Big East games, to be honest with you,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “So why not make it official tomorrow?”
Bronson Koenig tied a career best with 14 points for Wisconsin, which survived despite a six-point, 1-for-8 shooting day from standout center Frank Kaminsky.