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No. 19 Wisconsin falls at No. 7 Michigan in 61-52 loss

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Tough defeat on the road despite playing close most of the game.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A big second half from Charles Matthews lifted the No. 7 Michigan Wolverines over the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers in a 61-52 victory inside the Crisler Center on Saturday afternoon.

Wisconsin could not contain Matthews, who scored 16 of his 18 points in the final 20 minutes. The senior guard finished the game hitting nine of 15 attempts from the field but made eight of 11 in the second half for Michigan (22-2, 11-2 Big Ten).

Redshirt senior forward Ethan Happ tied Matthews for a game-high 18 points but dealt with early foul trouble in the second half. After riding the bench for over nine minutes in that final frame, he scored just four points on 2-of-9 shooting. The All-American candidate recorded 11 rebounds and two blocks but also committed five turnovers.

No other Badger scored in double digits for Wisconsin (17-7, 9-4) on Saturday. A pair of sophomores—guard Brad Davison and forward Nate Reuvers—scored nine points each in the loss. Both combined to grab 11 rebounds, and the latter also blocked three shots.

The teams’ respective defensive prowess showed on Saturday. UW shot just 40.7 percent for the game on 24 of 59 from the field, while Michigan connected on 25 of 56 attempts (44.6 percent).

Both programs were cold from deep. The Wolverines made just four of 17 from distance, while the Badgers only hit four of 12 from beyond the arc.

Jon Teske recorded a double-double, hauling in 17 points and 12 rebounds plus three blocks for Michigan. Jordan Poole was the only other Wolverine in double figures with 10 points while adding nine rebounds in the victory over his home state school.

Wisconsin led by as much as eight points early on in the first half, but the teams battled to a 27-27 tie at halftime. Happ scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the first 20 minutes of play but picked up a costly second foul that sent him to the bench for the final 1:59 with the game close and the Badgers up three at the time.

Officials called Happ for his third foul early in the second half, which forced him to the bench at the 18:26 mark. Michigan took advantage and pushed ahead to gain the lead after a flagrant one foul called against Davison on a hook-and-hold. Teske made both free throws and on the ensuing possession, Charles Matthews hit a jumper to get a quick 4-0 run on the Badgers to make it 31-27 with 17:31 to play.

Michigan would not relinquish the lead from there, though the Badgers kept it close. Happ returned with 9:13 remaining and the game still within two possessions. Multiple times the Badgers pulled back within one point, including Happ scoring a layup for an “and one” opportunity at the 6:13 mark. Unfortunately, he could not connect on the free throw that kept the deficit at one.

On the ensuing Michigan possession Teske pulled off an “and one” of his own—this time hitting the free throw—to push the lead back out to four.

With a dish from Happ, Reuvers connected on a three to crawl back within one at 49-48 with 5:32 to play. A Matthews dunk made it a three-point game in the Wolverines’ possession thereafter, but Happ’s layup kept the game close at 51-50 with 4:16 remaining.

Michigan would takeover from there, however, going on a 10-2 run in the final 3:52 to seal the win. Zavier Simpson (five points, four rebounds, five assists) hit a layup on the next possession in yet another immediate response from the Wolverines.

Though the Wisconsin defense held Michigan scoreless for a couple of key possessions, Greg Gard’s squad could not chip away at the deficit. Happ missed two layup opportunities close to the rim, while Khalil Iverson had a shot blocked with 1:57 remaining.

Matthews drained two shots with 88 and 23 seconds remaining to put the game out of reach.

Wisconsin will need to turn around from the loss quickly as it returns to the Kohl Center on Tuesday night for a matchup against No. 9 Michigan State (6 p.m. CT, ESPN2).