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Wisconsin falls to Michigan State 76–61

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A better effort on the road, but the Badgers again fall short

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

A rough first half of shooting set up a tough hole for the Wisconsin Badgers to climb out of Friday night, as they fell to the No. 6 Michigan State Spartans in a 76–61 loss in East Lansing, Mich.

Wisconsin (10-12, 3-6 Big Ten) shot only 36.2 percent for the game, a frigid 20.7 percent on 6-of-29 shooting during the first half, and despite an improved performance in the second half, could not come back from a 16-point halftime deficit.

Greg Gard’s squad again could not hit from three-point range, shooting 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) from beyond the arc.

Michigan State (19–3, 7–2) shot 50 percent from the floor (27 of 54 on field-goal attempts) for the game and blocked nine shots while out-rebounding Wisconsin 36–28.

Sophomore forward Miles Bridges scored a game-high 24 points and added seven rebounds in the win, and three other Spartans scored in double-digits. Guard Cassius Winston contributed 17 points and six assists, while forward Nick Ward tallied a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds plus five blocks.

Ethan Happ recorded a team-high 23 points with seven rebounds for the Badgers but only shot 7-of-19 from the field. The redshirt junior forward did not fare well in the first half, missing all eight of his field-goal attempts. He rallied back to score 22 of his points, connecting on seven-of-11 field goal attempts, in the second half.

On a bright note—and yes, there are no moral victories—Happ hit make nine of 11 free throws.

Redshirt sophomore guard Brevin Pritzl scored 13 points and was the only other Badger in double-digits, though he was only 5-of-12 on field-goal attempts (3-of-9 from three-point range).

Michigan State led by as much as 18 points on two occasions late in the first half and held a 37–21 halftime advantage. Again, no moral victories, but Wisconsin outscored Tom Izzo’s squad 40–39 and shot 51.7 percent (15-of-29 shooting) in the final 20 minutes.

The Badgers, after being dominated in the paint in the first half by the Spartans 14–4, outscored their opponents 28–10 in that category in the second half.

Holding MSU to 44 percent shooting (11 of 25 from the field) in that final frame, UW pulled the game back within six at 46–40 with 9:51 left.

The Badgers had a chance to bring the deficit even closer, but a missed possession—a combination of a missed Happ layup and unsuccessful Brad Davison three-point attempt—was countered by the Spartans with a Winston three. That pushed the lead out to nine with Gard’s team not able to close the gap closer the rest of the game.