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January 18, 2014

Instant Recap: U-M 77, Wisconsin 70

The Wolverines notched their biggest win of the season Saturday evening, knocking off No. 3 Wisconsin in Madison, Wis., 77-70.

Michigan had not won in the Kohl Center since 1999 and had never won an away game against Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan.

After the win, the Wolverines remain undefeated in Big Ten play, with an unblemished 5-0 record, sitting atop the conference standings, tied with Michigan State.

--Box Score: Michigan 77, Wisconsin 70

First Half:

Michigan did not look intimidated by the Kohl Center crowd at the beginning. After trading buckets in the first two minutes, Michigan took an early 7-4 lead when sophomore guard Nik Stauskas drilled a step-back three-point shot.

For much of the year, the Wolverines have struggled to shoot away from Crisler Arena, but they gained confidence from some early success. Sophomore guard Caris LeVert sunk his first three-point attempt to put Michigan up 10-6.

In the ensuing possession, redshirt junior Jon Horford came up with a big block and pushed the ball out in transition. The Badgers was so focused on Stauskas from the three-point line, they didn't see Horford sneak into the lane for a big slam dunk.

Out of Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan's first timeout, the Michigan defense once again shut down the usually efficient Badger offense, and LeVert buried his next three attempt, putting Michigan up 15-6 with 15 minutes to play.

On the next Michigan possession, fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan snagged an offensive rebound - something not many guys have been able to do this year against this Wisconsin team - off a Stauskas missed, and put it back in to go up 17-8.

The two teams traded buckets over the next few possessions, including two smooth jumpers from sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III. A Wisconsin three made it 21-15 with 12 minutes to go.

Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser added another three to close the gap to 21-18, but the Michigan offense continued to chug along. Stauskas found Horford on a drive-and-dish for an easy slam, and sophomore point guard Spike Albrecht nailed an NBA-range three to push the lead back out to eight with 10:32 to go.

Robinson added to free throws on Michigan's next possession to give Michigan an impressive 10-point lead.

Michigan would be hard-pressed to start a game better, from a shooting perspective. With 9:30 to play, Stauskas hit a mid-range jumper, giving the Wolverines a 30-21 lead.

To that point, the team had hit 12 of its first 15 field goals.

With under eight minutes to play, after the teams had traded baskets, Wisconsin guard Ben Brust - the player who broke Michigan's heart with a halfcourt shot to send last year's game at Wisconsin to overtime - drilled a deep three-point shot, cutting the lead to four, 32-28.

After another Brust three-pointer cut the game to 34-31, LeVert drove into the lane and finished with a strong skyhook to go back up by five.

On Michigan's next possession, LeVert missed a mid-range jumper with a hand in his face. LeVert stayed with the play, stripping a Wisconsin player of the rebound went up for another shot, got fouled, and hit it. He added the free throw.

On Wisconsin's next possession, LeVert forced another turnover and found Robinson down the court. Robinson finished with a layup in transition to put Michigan up, 41-33.

After Morgan blocked a shot inside, LeVert once drove inside aggressively, drawing a foul and hitting both free throw attempts. After going back up 10, Gasser hit another three and Robinson was called for an offensive foul on the other end.

Stuaskas blocked a Wisconsin shot attempt as time expired on the first half, and Michigan went into the locker room, 43-38.

First-Half Leaders:

  • Caris LeVert: FG: 4-8; 3 FG: 2-2; 2 REB; 4 AST; 3 STL; 13 points.

  • Glenn Robinson III: FG: 5-6; 1 AST; 12 points.

  • Nik Stauskas: FG: 3-8; 3 FG: 1-2; 1 REB; 2 AST; 2 BLK; 7 points.

    Second Half:

    Michigan started the second half with a few mistakes. After freshman point guard Derrick Walton stripped a Wisconsin player, Robinson couldn't reel in the ball and it went out of bounds.

    On Michigan's next possession, Robinson drove inside but lost control of the ball and turned it out. Morgan added another turnover when he couldn't handle a pass on the next possession.

    But, on the other end, Wisconsin wasn't hitting its shots. Finally, Michigan got things going with a drive-in layup from Walton and a three-point shot from Stauskas, builing the lead to 49-40 with 15:36 to play.

    Wisconsin's shooting woes continued on its next trip, with a Brust airball three attempt. Horford, playing more minutes in the second half because Morgan hit the bench with three fouls, hit a short jumper to give Michigan its biggest lead of the game to that point, 51-40.

    The Badgers began the half 1-of-8 from the field. Meanwhile, Michigan's hot shooting night continued. LeVert nailed another three-point attempt with 13:30 to go, and Stauskas added a three of his own on Michigan's next possession to build a 57-44 lead.

    Freshman guard Zak Irvin added a two-point jumper on the Wolverines' next possession to go up 59-44 with 11:29 to go.

    Wisconsin's offense finally woke up after that, closing the gap to 62-51. LeVert answered the call with a running floater off the glass to go up 64-51 with 8:40 to go. On Michigan's next possession, he drove inside again, finishing with a layup, helping quiet the Badgers' run.

    But the Badgers refused to go away. Gasser hit another three-point shot, Wisconsin's first conversion on an outside shot in six tries, to cut the deficit to 10 with 6:15 to go. After a Michigan turnover, Wisconsin went inside to Frank Kaminsky, and Nigel Hayes added a jumper, cutting Michigan's lead to six with a quick 7-0 Wisconsin run with just under five minutes to play.

    Out of a Michigan timeout, Kaminsky rattled in a three-point shot, bringing the Badgers within one possession of Michigan, 66-63, with a 10-0 run. Michigan coach John Beilein elected to take another timeout to quiet the crowd and settle down his team.

    Out of the timeout, Stauskas took the ball at the top of the key, made a move and found some room for a mid-range jumper, finally ending the Wisconsin onslaught and giving Michigan a five-point lead with 3:16 to play.

    Wisconsin answered with two field goals in the next minute of play to cut the Michigan lead to just one, 68-67 with just under two minutes to play.

    With 1:14 to play, Gasser was called for a huge foul inside on Morgan as Stauskas put up a desperation three-point attempt at the end of the shot clock, giving Michigan the ball back with a fresh 35-second shot clock.

    On the ensuing possession, Stauskas broke Nigel Hayes' ankles with a beautiful crossover, finding an open three-point attempt, which Stauskas will take every time.

    He did, sinking perhaps the biggest shot of the season thus far, putting Michigan back up by four with under a minute to play.

    After Wisconsin's Traevon Jackson missed one of two free throws at the other end, Stauskas was fouled with 24.7 seconds to go and a three-point lead. He hit both to put the Wolverines up five.

    The Wolverines went on to close out the win, 77-70.

    Game Leaders:

  • Nik Stauskas: FG: 7-17; 3 FG: 3-9; 4 REB; 4 AST; 2 BLK; 22 points.

  • Caris LeVert: FG: 7-15; 3 FG: 3-3; 7 REB; 4 AST; 4 STL; 20 points.

  • Glenn Robinson III: FG: 6-8; 1 AST; 14 points.


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