UM solves Madison malady, holds off Wisconsin

Madison, Wis. — There are places that have been unkind to Michigan.

And then there’s the Kohl Center, where leaving with a loss has been the norm for quite some time.

The Wolverines bucked the trend and hung on to beat Wisconsin, 83-72, Sunday to leave Madison with just their second win since 2000.

Moritz Wagner recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 20 Michigan (20-7, 9-5 Big Ten), which shot a blistering 65.4 percent (17-for-26) in a dominant first half and 56 percent (28-for-50) for the game.

Duncan Robinson, who got the start in place of injured freshman forward Isaiah Livers (ankle), added 16 points and shot 4-for-7 from 3-point range, while Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 15 and Charles Matthews 11.

Ethan Happ had 29 points on 12-for-23 shooting, Brevin Pritzl scored 13 and Brad Davison 10 for Wisconsin (11-16, 4-10), which shot 60 percent (18-for-30) to rally back in the second half and has lost nine of 11.

After coasting into halftime with a 22-point cushion, Michigan continued to pour it on with a 7-0 run that featured a Wagner 3-pointer to beat the shot clock and a dunk by Jon Teske to extend the lead to 53-28 with 14:50 remaining in the second half.

However, things never come easy for Michigan at the Kohl Center, as Wisconsin didn’t wilt and made seven straight shots. The Badgers used a 12-0 run that featured five straight points from Happ — a layup and three-point play — to cut the deficit to 58-47 with 8:52 remaining.

Abdur-Rahkman snapped the flurry and a nearly four-minute scoring drought with a driving layup at the 8:35 mark to give Michigan a 13-point lead.

Wisconsin pulled within 11 six more times — the last on a Happ layup at the 3:26 mark — but Michigan countered with an answer each time as neither team could string together stops on defense.

But Michigan’s free throw woes crept back up after Zavier Simpson missed the front end of a one-and-one twice and Wisconsin’s Aleem Ford nailed a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to single digits, 71-63, with 2:37 left.

Abdur-Rahkman made two free throws 30 seconds later and split another pair to re-establish a double-digit lead, 74-63, at the 1:42 mark.

Wisconsin trimmed the deficit to single digits three times in the final 1:05 — aided by two Michigan fouls on 3-point attempts — but the Wolverines were able to put it away with two free throws apiece from Abdur-Rahkman, Ibi Watson and Jordan Poole down the stretch as they finished 18-for-24 from the free-throw line.

It was all Michigan early as the Wolverines were clicking on both ends and jumped out to a 15-2 lead with 14:27 left in the first half.

Michigan attacked the basket and drained three 3-pointers, including back-to-back deep balls by Poole and Wagner that capped an 8-0 spurt and gave the Wolverines a 13-point cushion.

Wisconsin, meanwhile, had one made basket — a tough step-back by Davison at the 16:18 mark — and three turnovers over the first five minutes.

Happ, who scored half of Wisconsin’s first-half points, had seven straight points for the Badgers to cut it to 11 before Michigan began to pull away with a 13-3 run as the lead swelled to 20.

Robinson regained his shooting touch and keyed the spurt with two 3-pointers sandwiched around a 3 by Wagner to push it to 35-15 at the 6:32 mark.

Michigan closed out one of its best first halves of the season with a 7-0 run — highlighted by Robinson’s fourth 3-pointer of the half — and held Wisconsin scoreless over the final 4:19 to take a commanding 44-22 lead into halftime.

Source Article