MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin Badgers tied a season high with 13 three-pointers to seal its first Big Ten Conference title since 1947 by beating the University of Michigan men's basketball team 74-54 Wednesday (Feb. 27) at the Kohl Center. The loss dropped the Wolverines to 10-16 overall and 5-10 in Big Ten play. The Badgers (19-11) clinched the first seed in the upcoming conference tournament with the win, improving to 11-5.
Chris Young (Plymouth, Mich./Catholic Central HS) led the Wolverines with 19 points and six rebounds, while Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep. [N.H.]) chipped in 17 points. However, the U-M duo could not contend with the Wisconsin tandem of Kirk Penney (23 points) and Devin Harris (19), who shot a combined 8-of-13 from outside.
LaVell Blanchard (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) scored Michigan's first 10 points, but Wisconsin broke out to a 28-19 lead with a perfect three-point attack. The Badgers shot 7-for-7 from behind the arc through the first 11:01 of the game, pulling away with a 17-4 run over the middle 2:30 to take control of the game.
With Blanchard on the bench with three fouls, the Badgers took off on a 23-4 run that lasted 9:27 through the end of the frame. Harris scored eight points for Wisconsin over this stretch, including a trey with just three seconds left on the clock as his Badgers took a decisive lead into the second frame, 48-23.
Penney helped the Badgers to their 25-point halftime edge by connecting on 7-of-9 shots from the field for 18 first-half points. Harris closed out a strong half with 17.
Michigan began the second half on a 10-2 run with two buckets apiece by Young and Robinson and a jumper by Blanchard -- his first points since early in the first half. The run brought Michigan within 17 points at 16:09, 50-33.
Threes from Penney and Mike Wilkinson inside of a minute of each other re-established the Badgers dominance and quelled the burgeoning Wolverine comeback.
UW would lead by as much as 29 points at 11:26 with a trey from Freddie Owens. However, six consecutive points from Young as part of a 10-2 run beginning at 7:44 brought the Maize and Blue as close as 16 points before dropping a 74-54 decision.
The Wolverines close out their regular season against Ohio State, with an 8 p.m. matchup Saturday (March 2) at Crisler Arena. The Buckeyes won the first game of the season series 69-47 on Jan. 24 in Columbus, Ohio.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423