The Wisconsin Badgers just don’t know how to lose two in a row as they rebounded from a loss at Illinois to beat the Michigan Wolverines 66-50 at the Kohl Center. The Badgers (12-3, 2-1) have won 17 straight games after a loss and haven’t lost two in a row since January of 2009.
By: Nick Grays
What It Means: It was a tale of two halves for the Badgers on Wednesday night. In the first half, they made it an issue to go away from shooting the three-pointer and put more emphasis on scoring in the paint. Jon Leuer went to work while notching 11 points but also committing an uncharacteristic four turnovers. On the other side, Michigan took advantage of Badgers mistakes and missed shots to build a 28-26 lead at the half.
The switch appeared to be flipped when the Badgers came out in the second half as Jordan Taylor made three quick three-pointers to recapture the lead for the Badgers. After shooting only seven three-pointers in the first half, the Badgers attempted 12 in the second half, connecting on six of them. The difference in results from half-to-half seemed like a “live or die by the three” style is the right one for this Badgers team.
Seeing that there was no one player who really stood out and how Leuer/Taylor win this award almost every game, I’m going to cheat a little and pick the entire team and their defense as the player of the game. If not for holding the Wolverines to 7-of-21 (.333) in the second half, I’m not sure the Badgers would have won this game securely as they did.
They also did a great job of holding down Wolverines’ sophomore point guard Darius Morris. After two quick fouls, Morris was completely taken out of his rhythm and looked nothing like one of the best point guards in the Big Ten. Prior to the game, Morris ranked third in the nation with 7.6 assists per game. Against the Badgers, he had only three compared to a costly four turnovers.
Highlight of the Night: Albeit a quiet first half on the offensive end (3 of his 20 points), Taylor showed some hustle when he dove into the Badgers bench to save a ball sailing out of bounds. Following the save, Leuer converted a two-point shot in the paint to pull the Badgers within two at the 9:07 mark. Oh yeah, Taylor also grabbed seven rebounds in the first half.
Stat of the Game: Wisconsin went the first 18:45 of the second half without a turnover. Despite turning the ball over eight times against Michigan, the Badgers have only 13 turnovers through three Big Ten contests.
Quotables: “If you look at they’re stats, it’s incredible, they’re not inflated and that they have so many guys shooting. Jordan Taylor is shooting 38 (percent) the other guys are shooting 40s. It’s just really hard to guard all those guys when they have four shooters on the floor,” said Michigan Head Coach John Beilein.
“Overtime. Field Goal wins it. Team in green wins,” joked Ryan.
“They say a lot of teams take on the personality of their head coach. Coach Ryan is a fighter and he’s not going to let a team he coaches lose twice. It’s a very business like atmosphere and we as players take that serious,” answered Keaton Nankivil in response to why the Badgers have won 17 straight games after a loss.
What’s Next: From one Michigan school to the other, the Badgers will travel to East Lansing for a battle with #19 Michigan State on Tuesday, January 11th. The Spartans (10-4, 2-0) are led by senior Durrell Summers who’s averaging 15.2 points per game.
Sparty proved impressive in a 71-62 win versus Minnesota, but struggled to knock off Northwestern in Evanston, needing a late offensive rebound from Draymond Green to win 65-62.
Rapid Reaction Archive:
Wisconsin 99 Prairie View A&M 55 (11-14-10)
Wisconsin 85 North Dakota 53 (11-16-10)
Wisconsin 87 NC State 48 (12-1-10)
Wisconsin 61 Milwaukee 40 (12-8-10)
Wisconsin 70 Green Bay 56 (12-13-10)
Wisconsin 80 Coppin State 55 (12-23-10)
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