Badgers finish Kohl Center season unbeaten after win over NU

MADISON—Beyond being deliberate on offense and disciplined on defense, it’s the defining characteristic of Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin teams: They don’t lose at home. After watching No. 12 Wisconsin beat Northwestern 78-63 on Sunday to go unbeaten at home for the third time in his tenure, Ryan said the idea of maintaining home-court advantage isn’t something he emphasizes to his players — or even mentions to them.Jon Leuer scored 26 points to lead the Badgers (22-6, 12-4 Big Ten) past a hot-shooting Wildcats team that used 3-pointers to stay in the game.Wisconsin went 16-0 at the Kohl Center this season – the third time in 10 seasons under Ryan that the Badgers were untouchable on their home court.Jordan Taylor scored 16 points and Keaton Nankivil added 15 for Wisconsin, which has won seven of eight overall. The Badgers finish the regular season with a pair of road games, at Indiana on Thursday and at Ohio State on Sunday.Juice Thompson scored 19 and Davide Curletti 18 for Northwestern (16-12, 6-11), which has lost two straight and four of six.And while winning at home might be the Badgers’ calling card, Thompson said they’re a tough team to play anywhere.NU seemed to be on the verge of being blown out at several points throughout the game, but managed to keep things close with strong outside shooting. The Wildcats made 11 of 21 3-pointers, with Thompson hitting five of six and John Shurna making four of seven. Ryan said Northwestern’s outside shooting can demoralize opponents.The Wildcats know they can shoot. Now they need to get better on defense.Already leading by 13 at halftime, Wisconsin remained firmly in control to begin the second half — including a flashy play by Leuer, who snagged a sharp pass from Taylor out of the air and converted a two-handed reverse dunk to put the Badgers up 51-35 with 16:18 left.The Wildcats cut the Badgers’ lead to 54-47 on a 3-pointer by Thompson with 12:25 left, and later trimmed it to 57-52 on a 3-pointer by Drew Crawford.Northwestern finally hit a cold spell down the stretch, missing 3s on critical back-to-back possessions. Taylor then nailed a 3 on the other end, putting the Badgers up 63-55 with 5:35 left.Taylor sealed the victory with another 3 to put Wisconsin up 70-59 with 3 minutes to go.Despite a handful of runs by the Wildcats, Taylor said he wasn’t worried.Wisconsin was coming off a last-second victory at Michigan on Wednesday, when Josh Gasser banked in a last-second 3-pointer. Gasser had a triple-double in the Badgers’ 78-46 victory at Northwestern on Jan. 23 but was a little more quiet on Sunday, scoring 10 points.Northwestern was trying to rebound from a home loss to Penn State on Thursday night.The Badgers have won 19 straight at home, a streak that dates back to last season. Ryan might not preach home-court advantage, but he knows his players are aware of it.