Late runs in each half lift Wisconsin Badgers past Michigan


The Wisconsin Badgers closed the first half of Friday’s Big Ten tournament quarterfinal against the Michigan Wolverines on a 10-0 run and finished out the game with a 17-6 kick, enough to oust the stubborn Wolverines with a 71-60 win.

The victory propels the sixth-ranked Badgers (29-3)—the top seed in the tournament—into a Saturday semifinal matchup with Purdue (21-11), which got past 13th-seeded Penn State in the second game at the United Center in Chicago Friday afternoon, 64-59.

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The short-handed Wolverines, playing without injured standouts Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr., did almost everything they needed to do to pull off the upset, shooting 51.9 percent from the floor.

But Michigan (16-16) could not get to the foul line. The Wolverines were 0-for-2 from the line as Wisconsin was whistled for only five fouls in the game.

Zak Irvin’s layup with 3:35 remaining in the first half boosted Michigan to a 26-21 lead, but Bronson Koenig canned a pair of 3-pointers in a 50-second span to cap a 10-0 closing run that gave the Badgers a 31-26 lead at the break.

Michigan wasn’t done, however.

The Wolverines trailed 41-36 before scoring eight straight points, capped by a steal and a layup by Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman with 12:28 to go that gave the Wolverines their last lead at 44-41.

Mar 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Sam Dekker (15) dunks against the Michigan Wolverines during the first half in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Duje Dukan, the former United Center ballboy, came out of a timeout and took a feed from Nigel Hayes, knocking down a huge 3-pointer to tie the game.

The teams played tight for the next five minutes or so and Irvin tied it up at 54-54 with a 3-pointer that came with 6:09 on the clock.

But Wisconsin was just too big and too much down the stretch. Frank Kaminsky scored four points, Sam Dekker dropped in five and Josh Gasser seemingly got to every loose ball in the final four minutes as the Badgers pulled away for the win.

Kaminsky didn’t have his best game on Friday, finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds and landing on the bench for a spell after a couple of bad decisions with the basketball.

Dekker also spent a few minutes in coach Bo Ryan’s doghouse on the sidelines, but had a strong all-around game with 17 points, a career-high six assists, six rebounds and three steals. Koenig scored 12 points and Hayes went for 11 points and nine boards.

Dukan had the only points off the bench for the Badgers, scoring eight in 16 minutes.

With all the talk circulating about Wisconsin appearing to be playing in this tournament for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney, Ryan just wants them focused on taking care of business.

“I’ve always figured that if you just take care of business that people in the know will know what to do with your team,” Ryan told The Associated Press. “That’s all we can do.”

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  • Dekker said a lack of energy in the early going was a culprit in the team’s slow start.

    “We were kind of lacking energy a little bit in the first half,” Dekker said. “They were playing harder than us, so some guys made some plays for us, stepped up, brought the energy level of us up and saw some opportunities to attack and got some buckets going.”

    Irvin scored 21 points and had 11 of Michigan’s 19 rebounds, while also nabbing three steals. Ricky Doyle scored 12 points off the bench for the Wolverines, Spike Albrecht added 10 points and Max Bielfeldt handed out four assists.

    Wisconsin out-rebounded Michigan 34-19 and had a 17-7 edge in second-chance points, a key in the outcome of the game.

    The semifinal matchup with the Boilermakers tips at noon Central and will be carried nationally on CBS.

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