MI basketball's begin too sizzling for Wisconsin in 83-72 street win

MI basketball's begin too sizzling for Wisconsin in 83-72 street win

No. 20 MI often lives or dies by perimeter shooting, and the Wolverines certainly lived in the first half at Wisconsin on Sunday. So, coming off of a road loss at Northwestern and having only three true road wins this season, MI was going to need to play good basketball, despite the Badgers' struggles this season.

It was more of the same for the Badgers this season.

MI coach John Beilein conceded his team "melted" a little bit in the second half on Sunday vs. Wisconsin. "When they start off 7-9 or whatever it was, that opens up a lot of stuff for them".

Three point offenseMichigan Wolverines guard Duncan Robinson (22) drives the ball against Wisconsin.

Looking to close the gap, Wisconsin looked to Ethan Happ, who scored the team's next seven points, but they couldn't keep up with the hot shooting of MI. Over the last few weeks, MI has struggled to consistently score from behind the arc.

Wisconsin trimmed the deficit to single digits three times in the final 1:05 - aided by two MI fouls on 3-point attempts - but the Wolverines were able to put it away with two free throws apiece from Abdur-Rahkman, Ibi Watson and Jordan Poole down the stretch as they finished 18-for-24 from the free-throw line.

Eight players scored in the first half for MI, led by Robinson's 14 points. Moe Wagner would also finish with multiple three point baskets, connecting on three of his six attempts.

Happ, who scored half of Wisconsin's first-half points, had seven straight points for the Badgers to cut it to 11 before MI began to pull away with a 13-3 run as the lead swelled to 20. Wagner had the unenviable task of trying to guard Wisconsin's best player: Ethan Happ.

Robinson regained his shooting touch and keyed the spurt with two 3-pointers sandwiched around a 3 by Wagner to push it to 35-15 at the 6:32 mark. This well balanced attack is what MI needs as their postseason play begins in a little over two weeks from now.

So give me the Wolverines to steal a road win and cover.

Struggling at the line for this season, making 64.4% of their free throws, Wisconsin tried to exploit this weakness with just over three minutes remaining.

Following a 61-52 loss at Northwestern on Tuesday, Michigan made sure it wouldn't lose any more ground to Nebraska from the start, opening the game with a 15-2 run and leading 44-22 at halftime. A 12-0 run that lasted just under five minutes midway through the second half sent an arena dying for something to cheer about into euphoria. MI would make 18 of their 24 attempts today, including a 7-8 performance from Abdur-Rahkman to help ice away the game.

"We knew they were going to make a run", said Abdur-Rahkman, one of four Wolverines in double figures with 15 points. Unfortunately, Nebraska sits a game ahead of them and has the head-to-head win over the Wolverines as well.

Snagging a win at Wisconsin is no small task, though. And that may not be enough seeing as Nebraska's schedule is much easier.

Ethan Happ scored a season-high 29 points to lead Wisconsin, which is now guaranteed its first losing Big Ten season since 1997-98.



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