MILWAUKEE -- Oregon took a 12-point lead into the locker room at halftime of its third-round NCAA Tournament loss Saturday against Wisconsin, but the Ducks felt as if it should have been more.
Wisconsin rallied after falling behind by as many as 14 points in the first half before beating Oregon 85-77 to end the Ducks' season.
"We didn't end the half well and we all sat down and agreed on that," Oregon's Richard Amardi said.
Oregon had the momentum and seemed to have the Badgers flustered when Wisconsin first got a bench warning and then a technical foul on coach Bo Ryan for arguing with the officials. Joseph Young converted a free throw that put Oregon ahead 47-35 and Damyean Dotson followed with a jumper that gave Oregon a 49-35 lead with 35 seconds left.
Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky missed two free throws, but the second one bounced out of bounds off Oregon. Wisconsin's Duje Dukan hit an open layup that cut Oregon's lead to 49-37.
"We did not finish the first half like we should have," Oregon coach Dana Altman said.
The Ducks heard that in the locker room.
"We came in and said we had to stay focused, keep pushing," Dotson said.
Instead, the second half looked entirely different from the first. The Badgers' 17-6 run to start the second half got the pro-Wisconsin crowd, just 80 miles from the Badgers' campus in Madison, back into the game the rest of the way.
"It was a really great crowd for them and they really got into it," Altman said. "On both ends, they were very vocal."
The Ducks pushed the pace in the first half and scored 19 transition points, winning the battle of contrasting styles. The Ducks did not get a transition basket in the second half.
"We were going in transition and keeping them off the glass in the first half and then the second half started with an offensive rebound they got and it seemed like it went downhill," senior guard Johnathan Loyd said. "Everything we were doing, they had an answer for."
Wisconsin shot 15-for-31 from the field in the second half, including 7-for-16 on three-pointers. Frank Kaminsky had 11 of his 19 points in the second half.
"Their shots were falling, we had trouble covering the big guy on the pick and pop and we didn't get a rebound," Oregon senior Mike Moser said.
Oregon outrebounded the Badgers 15-14 in the first half but the Badgers won the battle of the boards 22-11 in the second half.
"It boiled down to rebounds and stops, and we didn't do that," Dotson said.