Badgers’ late run not enough against Spartans
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Jordan Taylor has carried Wisconsin through its comeback this season, helping his team win seven of eight games after a rough start in the Big Ten.
He was no match for Michigan State on Thursday night.
Taylor made just three shots and was held to 13 points as the seventh-ranked Spartans beat the 15th-ranked Badgers 69-55.
“He struggled because defensively they did a pretty good job,” Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. “He struggled with his shot, no question about it.”
Ryan, though, said he’s not trading Taylor because he helped Wisconsin rally to make a game competitive that wasn’t closely contested for much of the night.
The Badgers (19-7, 8-5 Big Ten) had won their previous four road games and were on a roll — home and away — after opening the Big Ten season with three straight losses.
They were handed their most lopsided loss to Michigan State since Feb. 12, 2000, when it won the first of two regular-season matchups and went on to defeat them in the Big Ten tournament and Final Four.
Draymond Green had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Keith Appling scored 20 points to lead the Spartans (21-5, 10-3) to a win that moved them back into a first-place tie with No. 6 Ohio State in the conference.
“That win says a lot,” Green said. “Wisconsin’s not an easy team to play.
“It’s not the most talented team Bo Ryan has had, but it’s still a very good one.”
The Spartans have won four straight — the longest active streak in the conference — and six of their last seven games.
Michigan State shot 52.2 percent against a team that hadn’t allowed an opponent to make half its shots once this season and was giving up a nation-low 50.3 points a game. And, it held Wisconsin to 34 percent shooting.
Appling’s three-point play with 5:24 left in the first half capped a 14-0 run that gave Michigan State a 22-12 lead.
“That run hurt us,” Ryan said. “They got a couple baskets in transition — guys thought they were back but weren’t — we gave up turnovers and long rebounds.
“That’s not a position we normally put ourselves in.”
The Spartans led 31-19 at halftime and built a 53-33 lead midway through the second half.
Ryan said he told Izzo after the game that his team is playing pretty well.
“He’s done a great job with this team,” Ryan said. “It’s the truth.”
Michigan State, which snapped the Buckeyes’ 39-game home winning streak Saturday night, improved to 16-0 at the Breslin Center.
The home of the Spartans was so loud late in the first half that official Mike Sanzere told ranting Ryan that he couldn’t hear him.
“The crowd was awesome,” Izzo said. “I told our players at halftime, `You’re bringing this crowd back like old times.’
“It was a total-MSU team effort. The crowd, the players and my staff did a phenomenal job of coming up with some things to somewhat contain Taylor.”
Taylor, who averaged 29 points in his previous two games against Michigan State, got his first field goal with 5 seconds left in the first half after missing his first six shots.
“Jordan Taylor is a great player,” said Appling, who was assigned to defend the senior star. “After the first Wisconsin game, I went back into the laboratory and studied him. I learned a lot about his game.”
Ryan was often livid in the first half, screaming about calls that were made or that he thought were missed, but was much more subdued on the sideline after halftime as the Badgers headed toward a familiar fate on the road against a highly ranked team in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin has lost 40 straight games as visitors in the conference against top-10 teams since winning at No. 4 Ohio State on Nov. 26, 1980, according to STATS, LLC.
Ryan Evans scored 17 points for the Badgers and Jared Berggren had 10.
Berggren spilled blood — literally — in the traditionally physical matchup and went to the bench to have his cut covered by several bandages. The game was later stopped briefly to clean up the court.
Michigan State’s bruising center, Derrick Nix, had 12 points and a three-point play that pushed the lead to 20 points with 9:46 left in the game.
The Badgers pulled within nine points with 3:16 left, but the rout was restored and Izzo put his seldom-used reserves in the game during the final minute.
Ryan, though, wanted to have one last word with his team and called a timeout with 21.4 seconds left down by 14 points.
“Sometimes delivering the message later in the locker room isn’t the same,” Ryan explained.