Michigan basketball team bounces back to shut down No. 18 Wisconsin, 59-41
Chris Asadian | AnnArbor.com
Updated 5:03 p.m.
Old school met new school Sunday at the Crisler Center.
And the kids didn't disappoint.
Tim Hardaway Jr. racked up his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds and the 16th-ranked Michigan basketball team bounced back from its first Big Ten loss of the year with a 59-41 drubbing of No. 18 Wisconsin.
"This was such a team win for us, and what really makes it special was who we played and how we played against them," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "Wisconsin has done such a great job of not beating themselves over the years, and that's a big part of our formula.
"To have them come to our place, and beat them like that, is a good step in the right direction."
"That was awesome," Michigan senior guard Zack Novak said. "To have those guys come and talk to us before the game, I mean, they call it 'the house that Cazzie built.'
"It was kind of surreal."
The win also served as a bounce-back game for Michigan (13-3, 3-1 Big Ten). The Wolverines suffered their first league setback of the year on the road at Indiana on Thursday.
It also marked Michigan's first win over the Badgers in 10 tries. The last Wolverine win in the series came by way of an 85-76 victory over the Badgers on Jan. 28, 2006.
As for Wisconsin, the Badgers have now lost three straight, falling to 12-5, 1-3 in the Big Ten.
"Sometimes getting burned is a great lesson teacher," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "The light's got to go on with some of these guys, now that they're getting major minutes."
Freshman point guard Trey Burke finished with 14 points and three rebounds for the Wolverines, while Novak added 12 points.
Michigan hounded Wisconsin defensively all afternoon long, holding the Badgers to 31.4 percent shooting. Wisconsin was led by senior Jordan Taylor, who finished with 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting.
With baskets at a premium early, Michigan found itself with an early deficit after a Taylor breakout layup capped a 10-0 Badger run to make it 12-10 Wisconsin midway through the first.
The Wolverines climbed back, though, embarking on a lengthy 9-2 run that took six minutes of game time. The stretch was polished off by a Burke jumper giving Michigan a 23-16 edge just before the break.
After taking a six-point lead into the half, the Wolverines seized control of the game to start the second half.
Michigan held Wisconsin without a point for the first five minutes of the half, rattling off a 7-0 run of its own to move in front 32-19, its largest lead of the night.
Wisconsin got back within 10 three minutes later, but no closer, as Burke's coast-to-coast 3-point play got a roar from the crowd and capped a 7-0 Michigan run, pushing the edge up to 17 at 43-26 with 10 minutes left.
Novak and Stu Douglass, the team's co-captains, then summarized Michigan's gritty afternoon minutes later when Douglass dove to the floor to force a turnover near midcourt. Novak, also on the floor, gathered the ball before dropping a pass over his head into the waiting arms of Burke.
The freshman did the rest, sprinting the other way for an uncontested layup, drawing the loudest roar of the night and effectively taking the rest of the air out of Wisconsin's sails.
"They'd won a few 50-50 balls early, and we just wanted to win the rest," Novak said. "When you're not going to get many possessions with the ball, you've got to get every one that you can.
"It was a dog fight. You couldn't be afraid to get on the floor."
Michigan shot 39.6 percent from the floor and also out-rebounded the Badgers, 38-29. Sophomore forward Jordan Morgan ended his day with four points and 11 rebounds for the Wolverines, who will host Northwestern on Wednesday (6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network).
Beilein said Michigan's defensive performance was "as good as its been since I've been here." Players said the victory was the team's best overall effort to date.
Considering the numbers, it was hard to argue.
"I think it really is the best game we’ve played," Burke said. "We’re coming off a loss to Indiana, and we came out to prove that we can still play with some of the best."
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