After looking solid for most of the contest, Michigan fell short at Wisconsin, losing by a final score of 68-64.
Michigan collected a much needed win against Nebraska this past weekend, but couldn’t secure the big upset in the Kohl Center tonight. A win over the 17th ranked Wisconsin Badgers would have surely boosted their NCAA tournament resume. It was another good effort with no reward for the Wolverines. They will need to win these games moving forward to get a spot in the tournament.
Here’s some key game notes:
The defense looked better
Lately, defense has been an issue for the Wolverines. Tonight was better, but not enough to stop the Badgers late. In four of the last five games, Michigan has allowed at least 75 points, but held the Badgers to 26 points in the first half and just 68 points in entire game. Michigan looked much more aggressive and played tough throughout the entire game. The Wolverines allowed Wisconsin to shoot 45.3 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc, but most of those made shots came late in the game. With shooting being a struggle for both sides tonight, Michigan needed all the defense it could. Even though it wasn’t enough at Wisconsin, it will be crucial that the Wolverines match this type of play moving forward.
Michigan looked great to start of the second half.
After not scoring a field goal for over seven minutes to end the first half, Michigan changed the tide to open the second. The Wolverines started the second half on a 17-4 run that lasted nearly nine minutes, giving Michigan a 36-29 lead. Wisconsin eventually returned the favor, but the run gave Michigan confidence and helped them hang around the rest of the way. Zak Irvin and Moe Wagner did most of the scoring during that stretch, scoring 12 of the 17 points.
Where was D.J. Wilson?
D.J. Wilson collected zero points and five fouls tonight. Not a great showing tonight from Michigan’s most-improved player this season. Michigan will need Wilson to play big in big games from here on out. He has been key to Michigan’s offensive production this season.
Michigan turnovers and fouls helped Wisconsin make a late run
After back-to-back 3-pointers from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson that gave Michigan a 49-43 lead, the Badgers went on a 15-0 run that was highlighted by back-to-back triples from Bronson Koenig. Michigan missed some key free throws and committed multiple turnovers down the stretch — both uncharacteristic for the Wolverines. Also, letting Wisconsin into the bonus with over 14 minutes left in the game didn’t help the Wolverines either.
Michigan had this game in their hands, but folded down the stretch in another close game against a quality team. This game could of changed the story of the season, but Michigan couldn’t find a way to add an impressive win to their tournament resume. Michigan will have more opportunities moving forward, but this one hurts a lot.
Let’s hope Derrick Walton is fine.
The senior point guard hobbled off the court with 15 seconds left in the game. We’ve seen midseason injuries hurt the Wolverines in the past, so let’s hope all is well with Walton. By the way, when Walton gets it going, Michigan looks much better on the court. He finished with 15 points.
Michigan will head back to the Crisler Center to take on Illinois who blew them out in Champagne the first time they met. Tip is at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday.