MADISON, Wis. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team began a tough stretch of games Wednesday (Jan. 24), dropping a 71-58 road decision to No. 2-ranked Wisconsin at the Kohl Center. While the Wolverines (16-5, 4-2 Big Ten) were within striking distance through the first half, taking care of the basketball ultimately hurt U-M. Michigan surrendered possession 19 times, while allowing the Badgers to shoot 55 percent overall (26-of-48).
Michigan had a pair of double-digit scorers, with Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass/Noble & Greenough School) leading the way for U-M with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) was the Maize and Blue's other double-digit scorer, finishing with 10 tallies on 4-of-6 shooting.
The Wolverines started the game by posting a 9-0 run in less than three minutes. Michigan put together the run using a fast-tempo offense and solid shooting by senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS), Abram and junior Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS).
Turnovers then began to plague Michigan, which surrendered possession 12 times over the course of the half. Fouls also hurt the Maize and Blue, as Harris committed his second personal with 7:56 remaining in the half, sending him to the bench with U-M trailing by two points (19-17).
Freshman Ekpe Udoh (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe HS) was able to convert two points off a goaltending call to tie the game at 19 with 6:45 remaining, but a long Michigan drought would follow over the next four minutes. Wisconsin capitalized and -- with 2:48 remaining on the clock -- U-M found itself trailing by nine.
The Wolverines answered with an aggressive inside presence, allowing them to outscore Wisconsin 7-5 thanks to tough play by Sims and sophomore Jerret Smith (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS). U-M again upped its tempo to reestablish a presence, keeping the Badgers from running away with a lead.
Opening the second half down 33-26, Michigan had an opportunity to close the gap. Roles were reversed from the first half, however, as Wisconsin quickly posted nine points to Michigan's four, increasing the Badger lead to 42-31.
While U-M kept fighting, Wisconsin managed five consecutive points to increase its lead to 16 (49-33). To make matters worse, senior Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) committed his fourth foul of the night, followed by a technical foul, to take him out of the game halfway through the stanza.
After an Abram triple, Michigan trailed 49-36, but the Badgers responded with a 12-2 run that left the Wolverines down 61-39, and needing a significant surge to get back in the game. U-M continued battling until time expired but couldn't overcome the deficit, dropping its second conference game of the season 71-58.
The Wolverines remain on the road as they head to Bloomington, Ind., Saturday (Jan. 27) to face Indiana at Assembly Hall. The game against the Hoosiers is scheduled for a noon tipoff and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423