Missed 3-pointers proved detrimental Wednesday as the No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team lost their third-straight game in a 72-68 defeat against the Michigan Wolverines at Ann Arbor.
Wisconsin came into this game after losing two straight games, the first against Nebraska after the Cornhuskers came back from being 19 points down and the second at the hands of No. 2 Purdue at home.
At the start of the first half, the Badgers and Wolverines traded baskets as the Wolverines gained the upper hand over Wisconsin.
Despite being last in Big Ten standings, the Wolverines held their own on defense by blocking five Badgers shots throughout the game and shutting down Wisconsin forward Steven Crowl. Crowl only scored three points for the whole game, all of which came in the first half.
Michigan tried to pull away from the Badgers in the first half as they led by as much as nine points, but Wisconsin guards Chucky Hepburn and AJ Storr kept the Badgers in the game and combined for 15 out of Wisconsin’s 33 first-half points.
However, the Badgers went into the second half with a four-point deficit, and their endeavors only worsened.
Wisconsin got a spark of hope early in the second half with a four-point lead thanks to back-to-back baskets from Hepburn, who finished the game with 17 points. It’s only his third time scoring double-digit points since the new year. Meanwhile, Storr scored 20 points and secured his seventh game of the season with 20 or more points scored.
That spark fizzled out a minute later as the Wolverines regained the lead due to Wisconsin’s foul trouble and lackluster 3-point shooting, causing the Badgers to stumble over their own feet. Wisconsin gave up 18 free-throw attempts in the second half and accumulated three more second-half fouls than Michigan
The Badgers attempted a late-game comeback with two minutes left but ultimately fell through as Michigan guard Dug McDaniel scored five straight points and secured the Wolverines’ upset against Wisconsin. McDaniel finished the game with 16 points.
“Very nice gift that the fellas said after in the locker room, basically said this is a birthday gift for you," Michigan head coach Juwan Howard said on the win. His 51st birthday was Wednesday.
“If you give any team confidence, let alone one that’s really searching for good things to happen, you’re asking for trouble,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said after Wednesday’s loss.
The Badgers, now with a season-high three game losing streak, moved to an overall record of 16-7 and a Big Ten record of 8-4. Wisconsin continues their Big Ten road trip with their next matchup Saturday against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in New Jersey.