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Owens Inflicts His Pain on Tulsa

Wisconsin guard, who played with sprained ankle, makes three-pointer with one second left in 61-60 win.

March 23, 2003|From Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. — Freddie Owens' ankle was sore, but his shooting hand was just fine.

The Wisconsin Badgers' guard swished a three-point shot with one second to play, capping a late rally and lifting fifth-seeded Wisconsin to a 61-60 victory over No. 13 Tulsa to move the Badgers into the Midwest Regional semifinals.

"When I let it go, I couldn't see the basket," Owens said. "I saw it go in. You work on those shots and things like that every day, and this is the payoff."

The Badgers (24-7) -- making a school-record fifth consecutive NCAA appearance -- advanced to a Thursday game in Minneapolis against the winner of today's game between Kentucky and Utah.

Wisconsin fans chanted, "Freddie, Freddie," as Owens did a courtside radio interview. He sprained his right ankle in Wisconsin's first-round win over Weber State and his status was unclear until he suited up.

"If I put a guy on the floor, I expect him to go," Badger Coach Bo Ryan said.

Mike Wilkinson had 18 points for Wisconsin, which trailed by 13 with four minutes to go. Devin Harris scored 12 and Alando Tucker had 10 as the Badgers overcame a six-point effort by their best player, Kirk Penney.

"This will be one they'll talk about for a long time," Ryan said, recalling what he told his players during a timeout just before they rallied.

Owens said the ankle bothered him.

"I can't feel anything right now," he said. "I didn't care how bad it was feeling. I was going to give it my all."

Kevin Johnson scored 23 points and Jason Parker had 17 for Tulsa (23-10) -- the lowest-seeded team to advance past the first round. The Golden Hurricane was in control, leading 58-45 with 4:08 to play.

"Having this game in [control] and then having it taken away, that's going to hurt for a while," Johnson said.

The Badgers, in a daze for the first 36 minutes, rallied with an 11-0 run to pull to 58-56. After Johnson scored for Tulsa, Harris drove for a layup with 48.2 seconds to play to make it 60-58.

When Parker missed the rim on a runner, the shot clock violation gave possession back to Wisconsin.

After a timeout with 12.1 seconds to go, Harris dribbled upcourt, drew three defenders and, after briefly thinking about a shot for himself, found Owens wide open in the left corner.

"I looked over and there was Freddie, sitting there, eyes wide as I don't know what," Harris said.

Owens was four of 16 in the tournament until the winning shot.

Tulsa took a timeout to set up a final play, but Jarius Glenn was whistled for stepping over the baseline. The Badgers started celebrating, and Owens took the ensuing inbounds pass and threw the ball into the air.

"This is one you tell your kids and grandkids about," Owens said.

He was mobbed by teammates as Tulsa players walked dejectedly off the court.

"I saw Harris drive and saw him dish it out," Glenn said. "I saw him [Owens}wide open in the corner. He shot it so high, I didn't know if it would ever come down. It felt like the longest time."

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