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Wisconsin falls at home in 67-59 loss to Michigan State

The Badgers again had chances late in the second half, but couldn’t pull it off.

Dan Sanger

MADISON — A late scoring drought and poor shooting led to the No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers’ demise in a 67-59 loss to the No. 11 Michigan State Spartans at the Kohl Center on Tuesday night.

Wisconsin (17-8, 9-5 Big Ten) did not score from the 5:20 mark to :10 in the second half while not making a field goal in nearly six minutes in that final frame. Overall, the Badgers shot just 6-of-20 (30 percent) from three-point range and made only five of 12 free throws.

Redshirt senior forward Ethan Happ recorded yet another double-double in scoring a team-high 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. However, he committed six turnovers and did not hit a free throw in six attempts—five turnovers and all six opportunities from the stripe in the second half. Sophomore forward Nate Reuvers chipped in 11 points, four rebounds, and two blocks.

Guards Brad Davison and D’Mitrik Trice combined to make just four of 18 attempts from the field, two of 10 from deep. The former scored nine points with three assists, but only shot 25 percent from the field.

Junior guard Cassius Winston made his presence known for Michigan State (20-5, 11-3), recording a game-high 23 points, six rebounds, and six assists. He made eight of 17 shots, including four of seven from three-point range.

Forwards Kenny Goins and Nick Ward contributed 12 points each and combined to grab 15 rebounds. Ward also blocked three shots, with the Spartans swatting seven in all.

MSU shot 43.9 percent (25 of 57) from the field and connected on nine of 22 threes (40.9 percent). Tom Izzo’s squad also out-rebounded the Badgers 40-28 with 10 offensive rebounds and 14 second-chance points.

Wisconsin took a 37-36 lead into halftime with eight players having scored. Happ and Reuvers both tallied eight points, and Brevin Pritzl provided seven points off the bench. Senior forward Charles Thomas provided 10 minutes off the bench but only scored two points and grabbed a rebound,

Michigan State shot 51.7 percent in the first 20 minutes but also committed eight turnovers in that span (12 total in the contest).

In the second half, Wisconsin went up by as much as six points early on, but Michigan State pushed a 12-0 run to take a 49-43 lead at the 14:30 mark after a Goins three-pointer. Happ responded with a personal 6-0 run to tie the game with 10:50 remaining in the contest.

From there, the game stayed within one possession until the final minute, though Wisconsin had opportunities to do more damage.

In the final 9:40, UW made just one of six free throws and four of 11 field-goal attempts while also committing three turnovers.

Happ’s layup at the 6:02 mark would be the last field goal for Wisconsin until Davison’s three with 10 seconds remaining. The Badgers’ actual scoring drought started after Davison made one of two free throws with 5:20 remaining. They would go 5:10 without a point, missed five straight shots, and committed two turnovers until Davison’s inconsequential three-pointer.

Despite the struggles offensively, Wisconsin was still within one point of Michigan State until Aaron Henry hit a jumper to go up 59-56 with 2:30 remaining. That ignited an 8-0 run that ultimately allowed Sparty to get the win.

After about two minutes, Goins’s three-pointer with 31 seconds left doubled the lead to six and essentially clinched the game. Nick Ward’s and-one from a Winston dish with 15 seconds remaining made Wisconsin’s defeat inevitable.

In the second half, UW made just one of eight from the free-throw line, two of 10 from three-point range, and nine of 22 (40.9 percent) from the field.

Wisconsin will rest up until its next conference contest against Illinois next Monday at the Kohl Center.