Eight minutes into the game, Brent Petway replaced Graham Brown.
The substitution was nothing out of the ordinary until the sellout crowd in Crisler Arena rose to its feet. As Brown walked off the court, the fans gave him a standing ovation.
It wasn’t for his scoring. Instead, it was for what’s become his calling card – his hustle.
Before Petway relieved the 6-foot-9 forward, Brown preserved a Wolverine possession with his effort in chasing down loose balls.
The senior ran to the sideline to save an errant shot. Brown got the ball to Jerret Smith, who rotated the ball to Dion Harris. Harris hoisted a 3-pointer that bounced out of the cylinder, and, coming from the sideline, Brown rushed into the lane to lunge for the rebound. He managed to tip the ball out to Daniel Horton, who was standing near halfcourt.
Even though the Wolverines did not convert on their multiple opportunities to score that possession, the crowd rewarded Brown for his effort.
“It feels great to have fans in the stands,” Brown said. “They were huge the last two games, and they have to continue to do that.”
On the afternoon, Brown finished with seven points and 12 rebounds, but he also made an impact away from the basket.
With more than five minutes left in the game, Wisconsin’s Kammron Taylor pressured Smith as he brought the ball across halfcourt. Brown looked to free Smith and planted himself just inside halfcourt to set a pick. Smith dribbled past Brown while Taylor, failing to see him, hit the forward at full speed. Taylor fell to the floor in obvious pain. Brown finished the play for the Wolverines when he fed the ball to an open Courtney Sims under the basket for a dunk.
“(The pick) just came out of nowhere,” Taylor said. “It just caught me on the blindside. I didn’t even see it coming.”
After referees stopped play, Taylor remained on the floor for a few minutes. Brown was the first player to check on Taylor’s condition.
Taylor left the game but returned less than a minute later to score 13 of the Badgers’ final 19 points.
“(It’s in) situations like that where guys break jaws, noses,” forward Chris Hunter said. “I was just hoping that he would be all right. He was a tough kid, came back in and gave them a spark.”
Up and over: With 4:40 left in the contest, the Wolverines had the ball and a 10-point lead. As the shot clock ticked down to single digits, Sims took the ball in the low block and turned to attempt a hook shot from the baseline. The errant shot flew past the basket without drawing iron. But Brown, in perfect position for the rebound, tipped it out to Ron Coleman on the wing.
When Coleman rotated the ball to Horton at the top of the key, the shot clock showed four seconds. As Michigan coach Tommy Amaker rose to his feet to alert Horton, the clock was reset.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan came over to argue the call, and the referees gave Michigan the ball out of bounds and reset the shot clock to four seconds.
On the inbounds play, Hunter couldn’t find either Dion Harris cutting to the corner or Horton streaking to the top of the key. With both primary options covered, Hunter saw Sims sealing his man away from the basket. Hunter lofted the ball into the post where Sims finished with an easy dunk.
“I just sealed (Alando Tucker) in because he had four fouls,” Sims said. “I knew if he was on me that he couldn’t really do anything.”
Perfection: Daniel Horton turns his eyes to the basket, bends his knees and hits the free throw.
That routine didn’t change on Saturday when Horton went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line, hitting eight in the final 44 seconds. With the perfect performance from the line, the senior has yet to miss in conference play.
In six Big Ten games, Horton has made all 38 of his free throws.