EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) -- Wisconsin couldn't figure out Northwestern's matchup zone defense and couldn't stay in first place in the Big Ten Conference.
Vedran Vukusic scored 18 points and Jitim Young contributed 17 as Northwestern upset the 11th-ranked Badgers, 69-51.
After falling behind by six points in the first six minutes, the Wildcats (9-11, 4-5, Big Ten) outscored Wisconsin, 34-11, for the rest of the first half as the Badgers went cold from the field. Wisconsin shot just 28 percent (8-of-28) in the first half and just 36 percent (19-of-53) for the game.
"Wisconsin is such a good team," Wildcats coach Bill Carmody said. "I did not think we could stay with them man-to-man. We played that same zone in past years, and they riddled it. We tried to put pressure on whomever had the ball, because Wisconsin can hurt you in so many ways. They missed some shots they normally would make, while we made shots we usually do not make."
Northwestern shot 51 percent (21-of-41) and got its transition game going against a surprisingly soft Wisconsin defense. The Wildcats outscored the Badgers on the fast break, 10-0, in the first half and 14-0 for the game.
"Teams are better in transition at home - at least we are," Carmody said. "We are clearly better at home pushing the ball up and down the court."
Davor Duvancic added 12 points for Northwestern, which beat its second top-25 team at home this season, but won for only the second time in their last six games. It posted a 70-60 victory over then-No. 25 Illinois on January 14.
After scoring a career-high 38 points Wednesday against Minnesota, Devin Harris had 16 points for Wisconsin (15-4, 6-2). Zach Morley added 15 as the Badgers had their four-game winning streak stopped and fell behind Michigan State in the conference standings.
"If you don't hit some shots like we did against those other teams, then it is going to make it tough," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "It is tough to play from behind. We got out early and got some good looks, but then they hit some big threes. That is how it got away from us. We made some runs in the second half but couldn't seem to get it back to single digits."