MADISON, Wis. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team suffered its third straight loss, a 74-63 setback to Wisconsin (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 Associated Press) Wednesday night (Jan. 21) at the Kohl Center. The Wolverines (10-5, 1-3 Big Ten) started the game with the hot hand, but two crucial scoring droughts in the second half proved to be the difference in the game.
Michigan, which led by as many as six points in the first half, went scoreless for a span of five minutes in the second frame, and the Badgers (12-3, 3-1 Big Ten) were able to build an insurmountable 16-point lead with four minutes remaining in the game.
Senior Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C/New Hampton Prep, N. H.) led Michigan with team highs of 13 points and seven rebounds, while freshman Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) chipped in 11 points and four assists. Mike Wilkinson led Wisconsin with 18 points and Clayton Hanson contributed 17 points, including five three-pointers.
Both teams were fairly accurate on the offensive end in the first 10 minutes of the first half, with each squad shooting well over 50 percent from the field. The sophomore tandem of Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) and Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) accounted for U-M's first 10 points, but Wilkinson was able to keep the Badgers within striking distance with 10 points of his own in the first four minutes. With Wisconsin holding a 12-10 advantage, Harris came off the bench and knocked down a quick hoop to tie the score with 15:52 left in the half.
The Wolverines did a nice job of spreading the ball around the floor, as Robinson put home his first basket and freshman Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) got his first points of the game off a jumper to put Michigan up 16-14. Michigan continued its offensive distribution, with senior/junior J.C. Mathis (Brooklyn, N.Y./John F. Kennedy HS) keeping U-M in front with a short jumper and Harris connecting from behind the arc to give the Wolverines a 21-16 edge with 11:42 left until the break.
Wisconsin responded with a 6-2 run to cut the U-M lead to one point, but sophmore Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) got into the scoring mix with his first bucket to increase the cushion back up to three points. Robinson knocked home two consecutive jumpers, including a triple to keep Michigan ahead by six points. Another hoop from Brown and a pull-up jumper from freshman Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) closed out the first-half scoring for Michigan. However, the Badgers were able to claim a 35-34 lead at the break thanks to Hanson, who scored 11 of U-W's final 13 points.
Michigan, which had eight different players on the scoreboard after the first 20 minutes, was paced by seven points from both Robinson and Brown. Wilkinson led Wisconsin with 14 first-half points.
U-M opened the second half with 9-2 run, with Sims netting five of those points, allowing the Wolverines to regain a 43-39 lead. Wisconsin held Michigan scoreless for the next five minutes, and the Badgers scored 11 unanswered points to grab back a 48-43 advantage with 11:24 remaining in the game.
Mathis broke the drought with a bucket to bring Michigan back within three points, but the U-M defense gave up four straight points and Wisconsin kept 52-45 lead. Unfortunately, the Wolverine offense went cold once again, scoring just three more points over the next six minutes. The Badgers scored nine points during the span to build a 63-48 lead.
Harris' second triple of the game brought U-M back within 12 points with 5:17 to play, but the Wolverines were never able to recover from their offensive woes. The two teams traded points for the final five minutes and Wisconsin went away with the 11-point victory, its 23rd straight win at home.
The Wolverines will play their third straight road game when they travel to State College, Pa., to take on Penn State Saturday (Jan. 24) at the Bryce Jordan Center. Tipoff for the ESPN-Regional game is schedule for 12:17 p.m.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423