The 21st-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (15-7, 9-6) fell to the 3rd-ranked Michigan Wolverines (14-1, 9-1), 67-59, this afternoon inside the Kohl Center.
The Badgers had a great effort on both ends of the court in the first half and jumped out to a 39-27 halftime lead.
But in the second half UW settled too much offensively when they could have gotten much better looks. The Badgers shot 7-28 (25%) from the field and 1-of-12 (8.3%) from 3-point range in the second half.
“We needed to do a better job of when they are gonna extend like that, a teams gonna heat us up a little bit, you gotta make plays and break people down and convert and not turn the ball over. I think it was twofold, I think it was both their aggression caused us to become a little stagnant at times and obviously that was tougher shots and turnovers were the result of it,” Gard said on the offense in the second half.
To me, the ultimate difference in the second half wasn’t that UW missed shots, but it was Michigan’s work on the offensive glass, particularly at key times, is what proved to be the difference. Wolverines had 11 offensive rebounds and scored 15 second chance points.
I’m guessing that Greg Gard is going to call out his front court after today’s game.
Hunter Dickinson grabbed four offensive rebounds in the final 6:37 of the game. Michigan scored after all of them, resulting in 9 points…..the final margin? 8 points.
Micah Potter, who’s struggled mightily of late, played much better today. But Potter and Nate Reuvers had a combined ZERO rebounds today.
“Yes. Absolutely. We need multiple rebounds from both of them,” Gard said postgame about the 0 combined rebounds from Potter and Reuvers.
For the game, UW shot 21-of-54 (38.9%) from the field, 6-for-19 (31.6%) from 3-point range and 11-of-12 (91.7%) from the free throw line.
Johnny Davis, who I’m very high on and will be extremely fun to watch the next few years, had another really good game. Davis had four of the seven made shots for UW in the second half, including three of the last four.
Which on one hand is good for him in a high level game. On the other, D’Mitrik Trice was the only other player to make a shot for UW in the final 13:35.
I thought the Badgers defense played well for the most part, except for the obvious of giving up 11 offensive rebounds.
Michigan shot 24-of-59 (40.7%) from the field, 7-of-17 (41.2%) from 3-point range and 12-of-16 (75%) at the free throw line.
D’Mitrik Trice led UW with 16 points, Aleem Ford had 15 points and Johnny Davis had 11 points.
On UW’s inability to put a complete 40 minutes together, especially against the top teams, Gard said: “You give up timely offensive rebounds, you have a flurry of very costly turnovers, even though it’s not a high number their crucial in terms of when they happen and what the result is from them. I think in addition to that (turnovers), I think the offensive rebounding I think that was the back breaker today, we just can’t give up those offensive rebounds at crucial times and give up nine points on four offensive rebounds when you force them into tougher shots or contested shots, you gotta finish the possession. Our ability mentality first and then physically to take this up another level and not allow pressure whether it’s extended like that or physical play in the post, on the glass and in the paint, detour us from what we want to accomplish.”
Wisconsin will look to put together a complete 40 minutes and will welcome the Iowa Hawkeyes (15-6, 9-5) to the Kohl Center on Thursday, February 18. Tip-off is set for 6:00 PM (Central Time) and will be televised on ESPN.