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Posted on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

Wisconsin uses a second-half run to pull away from Michigan basketball

By Michael Rothstein

Updated 11:51 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. — John Beilein warned this might happen. The fourth-year Michigan basketball coach said his team had to be so careful with the ball and efficient with their possessions against Wisconsin.

Otherwise, there’d be little chance Michigan could win.

For a half, Michigan heeded Beilein’s advice. But in the second half, as Wisconsin always seems to do, the Badgers started forcing Michigan into things and made them take bad shots while Wisconsin countered, leading to a 66-50 win over Michigan on Wednesday night.

“The difference between them and us, we just make a few plays to beat ourselves, a few,” junior guard Zack Novak said. “And they just don’t make ‘em.

“It’s the timing of those plays, a 6-to-9 point swing, that’s the game.”

There weren't many possessions that cost Michigan (11-4, 1-2 Big Ten). Six of them actually. But in those six possessions, Wisconsin took almost five minutes off the clock. It hit three 3-pointers, including one from Jordan Taylor, who led the Badgers with 20 points.

And it ended up turning a 33-32 deficit into a 42-33 Wisconsin lead. Once that happened, Michigan had to play from behind.

Young teams playing from behind are prone to struggle. Doing so against the Badgers (12-3, 2-1), who use up the shot clock on almost every possession, becomes almost impossible.

“They’ve got a way of just eating up possessions,” Michigan redshirt freshman forward Jordan Morgan said. “They milk the clock as much as they can on every possession and them getting offensive rebounds and we have turnovers, it’s just a killer.”

In that six-possession stretch, Michigan turned the ball over twice and allowed Wisconsin one offensive rebound that led to a minute-long possession.

Michigan tried to come back, crafting an 8-3 run to cut the Badgers’ lead to four, 48-44, after a 3-pointer from sophomore Matt Vogrich.

The Wolverines, though, would get no closer.

Wisconsin hit shots from the outside. It went inside when necessary and made 14 of 16 free throws. Michigan’s defense, which had done a respectable job in the first half, also faltered as Taylor had 17 of his 20 points in the second half.

“It’s different when the defense is right in front of you and you can talk them through a lot of things,” Beilein said. “In the second half, they get down next to Bo and Bo’s talking to their offense, it’s hard. It’s hard.”

It also erased a good first half for Michigan, one of the best the Wolverines have played all year.

Even with sophomore guard Darius Morris in foul trouble — he played just five minutes in the first half, a season-low — Michigan moved the ball well. It found open shooters.

Freshman forward Tim Hardaway Jr. slashed through the lane to score all 10 of his points in the first half and Novak scored nine of his team-high 15 points.

“It was defense and the intensity level we were playing at,” Hardaway Jr. said. “Everything was going our way. We were taking charges and solid, straight man-to-man defense and we were getting rebounds.”

That all led to Michigan’s offense, something Beilein stressed before the season. But the Wolverines couldn’t maintain the intensity in the second half. The pace wore on Michigan.

And Wisconsin did what it almost always does at the Kohl Center, what it has done 92 percent of the time under coach Bo Ryan.

It won.

Michael Rothstein covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.



Sat, Jan 8, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

It happened again as I knew it would. In the post game interview Belein used the we're young excuse that I personally have heard much too many times. Here is a clue John, when you run off Manny (into the NBA) and LLP you cause an experience void so don't act insane and use the result of your actions as an excuse for losing. You just can't have it both ways although we all wish we could ):


Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 11:36 p.m.

@Matt, i agree the stayed in the game for a while but it's still a LOSS. The tournament committees will just see a 15 loss. What is Beilein's road big ten record? I have to think WAY below.500. The program has shown about the typical improvement we should expect from this coach that has never been to a Final Four in 30 yrs of coaching. Like I keep asking and don't seem to get a good answer: Why does Beielin continue to get a "pass"?


Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

Hey, chicken little -- Michigan stayed in the game for 37 minutes against a team that's lost once at home in the past, what, four years?

Jim Pryce

Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

Hey Y'all, They're just a bunch of young kids, playin against grown men, Jrs. & Srs. Whoops that one didn't work for RR. Probably not gonna work for Beilein if he were to try it.


Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 10:52 a.m.

its nice to see uofm basketball and their fans come crashing back to earth after the 'september heisman' type non-conference schedule. b-lines system won't work in the rough and tough big ten...sound familiar?


Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 9:28 a.m.

@Josh: Those other sports does not foot the bill for the athletic department nor do they garner the exposure for the university as the football and basketball do nor are they pivotal for fundraising.


Thu, Jan 6, 2011 : 8:03 a.m.

Two things: When D.Morris plays like Dan Horton M cannot win. He continues to play out of control. If you live by the long shot you die by the long shot. This is the achilles of the B*Line system.


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 11:08 p.m.

Hey Geno, Michigan sports is still here,just not the really big ones. We are still very strong in hockey, the men's soccer team went to the final four of their tournament and were barely beaten by the eventual National Champions, and I'm sure baseball and softball will continue to do well as they have recently done


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 11:02 p.m.

When you start paying players again!


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 11:01 p.m.

How long is Brandon going to put up with this brand of Michigan basketball? Beilein just isn't getting the players needed to play on the national stage. Clear the decks of West Va coaches. Watching Michigan basketball is similar to watching the know they are going to fold down the stretch. Need Big Ten caliber players. Bill Martin did a nice job as AD but he made some bad coaching hires.

clifford geno

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 10:47 p.m.

I am just wondering, when Michigan sports will get back, where it use to be.