MADISON, Wis. - Josh Gasser helped take the pressure off senior point guard Jordan Taylor and lead No. 15 Wisconsin to a big win on Sunday.
Gasser scored 15 points, one of four Badgers in double figures, to help Wisconsin hold off Penn State, 65-55.
"Anytime you can have multiple weapons out there who can score it's going to help your team," Gasser said. "I think the games that we've played our best offensively are the games where it's been pretty spread out scoring. Anytime that can happen, it takes a lot of pressure off Jordan."
Jared Berggren added 13 points, and Ryan Evans and Taylor scored 11 each for the Badgers (20-7, 9-5 Big Ten), who have won eight of their past 10 games and maintained their grip on fourth place in a tight conference race.
Wisconsin reached the 20-win plateau for the sixth straight season and ninth time in coach Bo Ryan's 11 seasons.
Prior to Ryan's arrival in 2001-02, the Badgers had a total of four 20-win seasons.
Wisconsin earned the win because it started making 3-pointers.
The Badgers entered the day seventh in the league in 3-point shooting (35.1 percent), but only shooting 32.9 percent at home.
After missing its first two attempts, Wisconsin hit seven of its next 12 in the first half, including one on five straight possessions, to build a 35-21 halftime lead.
The biggest catalyst in that half was Gasser, who hit a 3-pointer on three straight possessions that put the Badgers on a 15-2 run, building a 27-13 lead after 13 minutes.
Wisconsin finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, its best rate in more than a month and helped wash out the 5-for-24 shooting from Thursday's loss at No. 7 Michigan State.
"When shots are falling, everything seems to be going a little bit better," Gasser said. "Within our offense, we just got out in transition a little bit, got a few easy looks and those are always nice. Anytime you can knock down a few, you are going to be a little bit aggressive going forward."
The Nittany Lions (12-16, 4-11) came in riding their first two-game win streak since Dec. 18-21 and were trying to break a 14-game winless streak in Madison when they used a 17-2 run in the second half to cut the lead to 51-46 with 5:48 remaining.
That's as close as it would get, as Berggren hit a pair of 3-pointers to help Wisconsin close on a 14-9 run.
"Those two 3s [Berggren] hit were to me the difference because I thought we battled back and did some good things," Penn State coach Pat Chambers said," but they were daggers."
Tim Frazier scored 20 points for the Nittany Lions to becoming the first Lions player to eclipse 500 points, 150 assists and 50 steals in the same season, but it wasn't enough for Penn State to avoid falling to 1-10 on the road overall and 0-8 on the road in conference.
"All that does is show what comes through with my coaches and teammates, the credibility and giving me the opportunity as far as assists go," Frazier said. "I give it all [credit] to my team. I don't take any individual credit for that at all."
Wisconsin survived a 32-8 disadvantage in points in the paint and turning the ball over 12 times by outrebounding Penn State 38-27 thanks in large part to Mike Bruesewitz's career-high 12 rebounds.
"Mike was into the game," Ryan said. "Mike gave what he had. He's a sparkplug that way."
PENN ST. (12-16): Graham 4-9 1-3 9, Travis 2-3 1-2 5, Colella 1-5 0-0 3, Frazier 9-20 2-2 20, Woodyard 1-9 1-2 4, Glover 0-0 0-0 0, Marshall 4-8 2-2 12, Borovnjak 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 22-56 7-11 55.
WISCONSIN (20-7): Evans 4-7 3-4 11, Bruesewitz 2-5 3-5 7, Berggren 4-8 2-2 13, Taylor 4-12 0-0 11, Gasser 3-6 6-6 15, Brust 2-4 0-0 6, Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 0-3 0-0 0, Kaminsky 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 20-47 14-17 65.
Halftime-Wisconsin 35-21. 3-Point Goals-Penn St. 4-18 (Marshall 2-5, Colella 1-5, Woodyard 1-5, Frazier 0-3), Wisconsin 11-22 (Berggren 3-3, Gasser 3-5, Taylor 3-6, Brust 2-4, Kaminsky 0-1, Bruesewitz 0-1, Wilson 0-2). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Penn St. 27 (Graham 10), Wisconsin 38 (Bruesewitz 12). Assists-Penn St. 8 (Frazier 4), Wisconsin 14 (Bruesewitz 5). Total Fouls-Penn St. 15, Wisconsin 11. A-17,230.