Wisconsin spent most of Saturday afternoon just trying to keep up with Michigan. When the Badgers finally put together a run in the second half, it looked like the Wolverines might have just flat ran out of answers.
Nik Stauskas found one for the maize and blue.
No. 3 UW (16-2 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) trailed 66-53 with just over six minutes remaining, but used a 14-2 run to close to within 68-67 at 1:47 on a put-back from senior guard Ben Brust (10 points, 5-of-10 FG). Stauskas missed a three but Michigan retained possession when Josh Gasser was called for a foul under the basket. Wisconsin defended for most of the next shot clock, but Stauskas, matched up against Wisconsin freshman forward Nigel Hayes, took one dribble right, stepped back, and put down a dagger three.
Fifty seconds of game time later, UM handed the Badgers a 77-70 loss, UW's second straight conference defeat. Stauskas (7-of-17 FG, 3-of-9 3-pt.) finished with a game-high 23 points. Most crucially, he scored Michigan's final 11 points.
Gasser (4-of-7 FG, 4-of-5 3-pt.) led the Badgers in scoring at 16 points, but just three of them-and two of his field goal attempts-came in the second half. UW also got double-figure scoring efforts from Brust, redshirt junior center Frank Kaminsky (14 pts, 6-of-12 FG) and sophomore forward Sam Dekker (10 pts, 5-of-13 FG). Wisconsin's had at least four scorers in double figures in 13 of 18 games this season.
One game after turning in a career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting in a loss against Indiana, junior point guard Traevon Jackson struggled, finishing with seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. He also had five assists and two turnovers in 34 minutes.
For the second consecutive outing, the Badgers struggled on the defensive end.
The Wolverines hit 12 of their first 15 field goals, including their first four three-point attempts, and produced 43 first-half points. Michigan registered an assist on eight of its first 12 field goals.
Overall, Michigan shot 54.7 percent (29-of-53) from the floor and 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from three-point range. The sophomore trio of Stauskas, Caris LeVert (20 points) and Glen Robinson III (14 points) accounted for 57 points for the Wolverines.
Each time Wisconsin started to close the gap in the first half, Michigan pushed it back out, as the Badgers could not string together defensive stops. Wisconsin scored the final five points of the first half to close a double-digit lead to five, at 43-38.
Michigan started the second half where it left off in the first, though, and it looked like the Badgers were not going to keep up with UM's scoring pace during a 15-6 run to open the half. The Wolverines led by double-digits for 7:27 before Wisconsin finally put together its run.
The man who eventually stopped the bleeding for Michigan was Stauskas. Nobody else on the visiting team scored in the final 8:06, but it didn't matter. It was that kind of night for the sophomore guard.
- Wisconsin eclipsed 70 points for the ninth consecutive game, its longest stretch since 1992-93.
- Michigan's win snapped its 11-game losing streak at the Kohl Center
Points per possession: Michigan 1.15, UW 1.04. Indiana had 1.19 against the Badgers earlier in the week.— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) January 19, 2014
Brust: 'It's a very humbling game, that's for sure, but we have no time to feel sorry ourselves.'— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) January 19, 2014
Bo on Stauskas' 3: "What we wanted is a tough three. That separation shot, a lot of guys have that now ... He's quick. He's like a cat.'— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) January 19, 2014