MADISON — Michigan matched Wisconsin basket for basket for
28 minutes in one of the toughest environments in the Big Ten.

Kate Green
Courtesy of Derek Montgomery/Badger Herald
Sophomore Graham Brown scored seven points in a losing effort for Michigan. Brown struggled defensively in the first half.

Unfortunately, the two teams played 40.

The Badgers benefited from their unsung heroes, who sparked a
20-5 second-half run to defeat the Wolverines 74-63 last night in
front of a sold-out crowd at the Kohl Center. Michigan (1-3 Big
Ten, 10-5 overall) has now lost three straight and is tied for
ninth in the Big Ten with Ohio State.

The Wolverines shot and rebounded the ball well from the outset
and had a 43-40 lead with 15:57 remaining. Then, Wisconsin took
over in the paint. To make matters worse, Michigan was unable to
drive to the basket as it previously had.

After Wisconsin junior Clayton Hanson hit his fourth
three-pointer of the game with 12:26 to go, the Wolverines made
just four shots in the next 10 minutes. The Badgers continued their
hot shooting, increasing their lead to 15 on another Hanson three
with 5:41 to go.

“I just wanted to come in and be solid defensively,”
Hanson said. “And I was fortunate to get some open shots,
too.”

After out-rebounding Wisconsin 17-16 in the opening 20 minutes,
Michigan was out-rebounded 21-12 in the second half. Throughout
their run, the Badgers were able to get a number of easy
second-chance opportunities.

“I thought how aggressive they were on the glass in key
moments was the difference in the game,” Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said.

In a game when Wisconsin’s roster was shortened —
Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Devin Harris was marred by
foul trouble and starting guard Freddie Owens was out due to injury
— Michigan was undone by the play of the rarely used Hanson
and center Mike Wilkinson.

Hanson — who had averaged 3.5 points a game coming into
yesterday’s contest — carried the Badger offense late
in the first half, finishing 5-for-6 from downtown and 6-for-8 from
the field.

“He hit every open shot he took,” said Bernard
Robinson, who led the Wolverines with 13 points. “And most of
the shots he took were open.”

Hanson’s hot hand spread to the rest of the team, as
Wisconsin shot 48.2 percent from the field. In contrast, Michigan
guard Daniel Horton continued his shooting slump, going 3-for-11
from the field, including 0-for-4 from 3-point range.

Wilkinson had his way with Michigan big men Graham Brown and
J.C. Mathis, leading the Badgers with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The junior scored 10 of Wisconsin’s first 12 points.

“(Wilkinson’s) a great player,” Brown said.
“He’s hard to defend. He got me there a little bit in
the first half, but I settled down and tried to lock him down on
defense.”

Wisconsin’s Harris, on the other hand, took just six shots
and let the game flow to his teammates.

“I didn’t see (Harris) force anything,” Amaker
said. “He was in foul trouble, and I didn’t recognize
him coming back into the game, trying to make something happen for
himself.”

Michigan was also unable to recover, getting into second-half
foul trouble very early. Wisconsin was in the bonus with 13:56
remaining. The Badgers then went on to shoot 14-for-16 from the
charity stripe, while the Wolverines went just 7-for-12.

One of the bright spots in the game for the Wolverines was their
low turnover total (11). After coughing the ball up 22 times in its
loss to Michigan State, the small turnover number was a positive
for Michigan.

“We made some steps forward in improving our basketball
team tonight,” Amaker said. “One of those steps is that
we value the basketball.”

Michigan will next play on the road against a hungry Penn State
team on Saturday.

“Every game from now on is a must-win game for us,”
Lester Abram said.

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