CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – With Wisconsin up 36-31 with 11:58 remaining inthe game, the PA system at the Dean Dome piped in the Mission:Impossible theme for a game on the JumboTron. It could accuratelydescribe what many felt was No. 9 Wisconsin’s mission Wednesday in oneof the most intimidating environments in college basketball.Impossible? No, but the Badgers knew to do the impossible it needed tobe spot on for 40 minutes and get a little bit of luck in the process.It was mission accomplished … until a heated timeout conversation inthe North Carolina huddle certainly lit a match.The Tar Heels broke out of their game-long shooting slump with adecisive 18-5 run, engineered by All-American Harrison Barnes scoring10 of his game-high 20 points, to help North Carolina stave offWisconsin to a hard-fought 60-57 victory in front of 21,750 thatextended its home court winning streak to 19 games.It wasn’t easy, not by a long shot.Wisconsin – denied its first 7-0 start since the 1993-94 season – wasdoing everything it wanted to do in order to beat a team like NorthCarolina. With 11:58 left, Wisconsin controlled the pace, shut downthe Tar Heels’ perimeter game, limited fast-break opportunities andeven outmuscled the fifth-ranked team in the country in their babyblue backyard.Problem was that it’s hard to keep a good team, or a good player forthat fact, down for too long.Barnes, who was a game-time decision after tweaking his right ankle inSaturday’s 90-80 loss to UNLV, simply exercised his will against aWisconsin frontcourt not used to his size. He used his teammates tocreate screens and hit 3-pointers from the perimeter, he used hislength to score inside and he used his size to draw fouls and makefree throws.“I think that they won (the momentum battle) early in the game, buttowards the second half we started pressing a little bit more,” saidBarnes, whose team scored eight points from the free-throw line on therun. “That kind of sped the pace up which was more our style.”But the Badgers were denied their first victory over a top five team onthe road since beating No. 4 Ohio State 72-71 on Jan. 26, 1980, a spanof 16 straight games, because the basket wasn’t kind to them.Entering the night shooting 47.2 percent from three-point range(second best in the nation) and 49.4 percent overall, Wisconsin wascold from the start and never truly heated up, finishing eight of 28 fromthree-point range (28.6 percent), 35.9 percent overall (23 of 64) andmade just three of six free-throw attempts.Senior guard Jordan Taylor was the biggest culprit. He scored 18points to lead UW but missed 14 of 20 field-goal attempts, including eight of his 11 from three-point range. Taylor was 2-for-5 in the finalsix minutes, including an open three-pointer with 17 seconds left thatcould have cut the score to 59-57.In a hyped match-up of premier point guards, neither Taylor nor UNCsophomore Kendall Marshall (four points) blew the top off the Dome,but the program was a bigger detriment to Wisconsin considering theimportance of its senior.“Some (shots) were forced; definitely in that run we forced someshots, but we had quite a few good looks that just didn’t go down,” Taylor said. “A lot of people might attribute that to their length, butthose are shots we’ve been taking every day since a week after theseason ended last year.”Juniors Jared Berggren (14 points) and Ryan Evans (10 points, 7rebounds) were big contributors but couldn’t help Taylor and Wisconsinextend the game in the final second. Even though UW scoredbuckets on four of its final five possessions, the Tar Heels cashed inby going 16-18 from the free throw line in the second half.“Getting good looks isn’t the easiest thing in the world,” said UWcoach Bo Ryan, who was an assistant on that staff in 1980. “I alwayskeep referencing back to Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) when he told the littlekid in ‘Airplane,’ ‘You tell your dad to try and drag those guys up anddown the court.’ It was hard. It was hard to get a good look. That wasas hard of fought game as I have been in as a head coach.”For all the things that went wrong in the first half for Wisconsin,the 25-24 halftime deficit was a minor miracle. Wisconsin shot 32.2percent (10 of 31) from the floor and 20 percent (3 of 15), but werein the game because of eight first-half UNC turnovers and a 12-2 runover an eight minute, 12 second stretch late in the first half that gaveWisconsin a 22-21 lead with 2:25 to go. Throw in North Carolinamissing 13 of its last 16 shots, and the confidence was building on everypossession.In the end, everything went right for the Badgers except for the final outcome.
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