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Wisconsin men's hoops wins third straight, tops Minnesota 78-70

MADISON - The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team has a three-game winning streak after beating Minnesota last night, 78-70 at the Kohl Center.  

The 21st-ranked Badgers led by seven at halftime and never trailed after that.  They held the Golden Gophers scoreless for four minutes early in the second half, while Wisconsin built up a 12-point advantage.  The Badgers led by as many as 15 before Minnesota made it a five-point game with 1:20 left.  Wisconsin made its free throws in the final minute to ice its victory, and avenge an 81-68 loss to the Gophers in Minneapolis on January 22nd.  

The Badgers made 30-of-36 free throws, making 30-or-more for the first time since December of 2011.  Andre Hollins scored 22 points for Minnesota, which has lost four-of-its-last-five.  and Malik Smith added 14 off the bench.  The Badgers played tough defense in the paint, holding Minnesota big men Elliot Eliason and Maurice Walker to a combined seven points.  The U also had 13 turnovers in the ballgame.  

The Gophers are now 5-7 in the Big Ten and 16-9 overall and play at Northwestern Sunday.  Ben Brust made all four of his free throw attempts for Wisconsin.  He had 20 points and six rebounds on the night, as the Badgers improved to 7-5 in the conference and 20-5 overall.  They hit the 20-victory mark for the 11th time in coach Bo Ryan's 13 seasons at the UW.  They'll play at Michigan at noon on Sunday.