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January 15, 2008
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Michael Flowers scored 23 points and No. 17 Wisconsin's man-to-man defense stifled Penn State as the Badgers extended their winning streak to eight games with an 80-55 victory Tuesday night.
Playing with trademark toughness and contesting every shot, Wisconsin ran out to a 20-4 lead. The Nittany Lions missed their first seven shots and never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
An early turnover by Penn State's Stanley Pringle epitomized the Nittany Lions' frustrating first half. Flowers snatched the ball out of Pringle's hands in the backcourt following a pass and went the length of the court for an uncontested layup to put the Badgers up 18-2 with 11:46 left in the first half.
Flowers was 9-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range.
The Nittany Lions played most of the game without leading scorer Geary Claxton. The forward limped off the court with about 13 minutes in the first half after hurting his left knee while going for a rebound.
Entering Tuesday, Claxton was averaging 18.7 points, second only to Indiana's Eric Gordon (23.0) in the conference.
Jamelle Cornley led Penn State with 13 points, 10 after halftime.
But it was the first half that did in Penn State.
The Nittany Lions couldn't hit outside shots or drive to the basket. When they did get into the lane, they were met by a wall of red-clad defenders.
In contrast, Wisconsin was crisp on offense, shooting 60 percent for the game and finding easy openings all over the court. With Claxton, the Nittany Lions' best defender, in the locker room, coach Ed DeChellis had few answers.
Flowers opened the scoring for Wisconsin with a 3, and Butch followed with a layup against a Penn State zone. Joe Krabbenhoft added another 3, and Landry hit a tough shot in the post to give the Badgers a 10-2 lead with about 14:30 in the first half.
Penn State shot 37 percent from the field, and was outrebounded 41-22.