PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Duje Dukan thought he had created a turnover with a held ball. The referees said he was guilty of a foul instead.
It’s a play that won’t make highlight reels, won’t get pointed to in any boxscore.
But it sparked No. 2 Wisconsin into finding a way to survive its first test this season.
Sam Dekker scored 17 points, Nigel Hayes’ acrobatic tip-in with 20 seconds left capped his 15-point day, and Wisconsin overcame a nine-point second-half deficit to beat upset-minded Georgetown 68-65 on Thursday in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals.
“I have bruises,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “And I was watching.”
The Badgers hadn’t trailed in the second half this season, but found themselves down 53-44 with 11:36 left. A 22-6 run put Wisconsin (5-0) up for good, and the Badgers could finally exhale when D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s 3-pointer rimmed out as time expired.
Smith-Rivera, who was 5 for 5 from beyond the arc until the game’s final shot, led all scorers with 29 for Georgetown (4-1).
“It was a fairly good look,” Smith-Rivera said. “I knew they were going to trap me coming off the screen, so I kind of wanted to take them away and come back and get a better look at the basket. But it didn’t go down.”
Wisconsin will face Oklahoma in Friday’s title game. Georgetown, which got 10 points from Joshua Smith, will play Butler in an all-Big East matchup for third place.
“These first two games have felt like Big East games, to be honest with you,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “So why not make it official tomorrow?”
Bronson Koenig tied a career best with 14 points for Wisconsin, which survived despite a six-point, 1-for-8 shooting day from standout center Frank Kaminsky.
Dukan was called for a foul with 7:25 left, arguing it to no avail.
He took his frustration out on the Hoyas instead.
Dukan scored all eight of his points in the next 80 seconds, turning a four-point deficit into a two-point Wisconsin lead with 6:04 left and the Badgers didn’t trail again. He also dove for a loose ball after Kaminsky missed a free throw, and on that extended possession Koenig made a jumper for a 62-59 lead with 4:27 left.
“That kind of was the trigger point for me,” Dukan said. “Got me amped up.”
Georgetown’s players didn’t get back to their hotel rooms until around 1 a.m. Friday, thanks to the Hoyas needing overtime to beat No. 18 Florida 66-65 in the quarterfinals.
Less than 15 hours later, they tipped off against the Badgers.
Rest might be overrated: The Hoyas made their first six shots. Midway through the second half, Georgetown was at 61 percent shooting for the game, but the Hoyas missed eight of their final 10 shots.
For the game, Wisconsin had nine assists and 14 turnovers, while Georgetown had seven assists and 15 turnovers.
“That’s how hard we were playing each other,” Ryan said.
Georgetown: The Hoyas were playing Wisconsin for the first time since Dec. 28, 1982, the season after Georgetown lost to Michael Jordan and North Carolina in the NCAA title game. … Georgetown was just 1 for 2 from the foul line in the first half, while Wisconsin was 13 for 18.
Wisconsin: Among the musical selections blaring during Wisconsin games at Atlantis: The march “On, Wisconsin!” and “Jump Around,” traditionally played before fourth quarters of football games at Camp Randall Stadium. … G Josh Gasser started his 110th game. Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas (114) is the only active Division I player with more starts than Gasser.
It was the 34th time in Kaminsky’s career that he took at least eight shots from the floor. He had never shot worse than 30 percent in any of those games, until Thursday.
Georgetown trailed 35-34 at the half, despite Wisconsin being ahead for only 56 seconds in the first 20 minutes. For the game, the Hoyas trailed for just 9:04.
Georgetown: Faces Butler in Friday’s third-place game.
Wisconsin: Faces Oklahoma in Friday’s championship game.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.