Road Reaction: Badgers 69, Wolverines 64 (OT)
Sixth-ranked Wisconsin required five extra minutes, but the Badgers managed to escape a rowdy Crisler Center with a 69-64 victory against Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday night. UW took Michigan’s best punches and withstood a last-second rally in regulation to move to 18-2 overall and 6-1 in Big Ten play.
Wisconsin led, 57-54, following two Bronson Koenig free throws before Michigan guard Derrick Walton Jr. buried a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining to tie the game and send it to overtime. But a 6-0 Badgers run to start the extra session allowed UW to leave unscathed and remain atop the league.
1 big moment: Badgers center Frank Kaminsky converted a three-point play on Wisconsin’s first offensive possession of overtime, and guard Josh Gasser drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing against Michigan’s 2-3 zone to give Wisconsin a 63-57 lead. The Badgers never led by fewer than four points for the remainder of overtime.
2 top performances: Kaminsky demonstrated once again why he is one of the top candidates for national player of the year. Wisconsin’s 7-footer finished with 22 points — the sixth time he eclipsed the 20-point mark this season — and nine rebounds. Kaminsky also became the second Wisconsin player with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in his career, joining Mike Wilkinson on that short list.
Koenig also deserves mention for his outing in his third start since replacing Badgers point guard Traevon Jackson. Koenig made 4 of 7 field-goal attempts and tallied 13 points with four assists and one turnover before fouling out in overtime. Koenig has scored in double figures in each of his last four games.
3 key stats: Wisconsin went on a 9-0 run to close the first half and take a 30-23 lead, capped by Nigel Hayes 3-pointer from the right wing. Hayes scored six points during the run, while Sam Dekker added a three-point play before exiting the game with 50 seconds remaining after cutting his hand on the rim on a dunk. UW later squelched a 14-3 second-half Michigan run by scoring seven consecutive points.
Kaminsky buried 6 of 7 free-throw attempts during overtime to help salt the game away for Wisconsin. Once again, Wisconsin made more free throws (14) than its opponent attempted (12).
Wisconsin won despite not receiving any scoring from the bench combination of Duje Dukan, Zak Showalter and Vitto Brown. Michigan, meanwhile, received 26 points off the bench.
Said: "Most coaches wouldn’t be bothered by six turnovers in a half. That’s not so bad. It’s almost like a crisis for Wisconsin." — ESPN analyst Jay Bilas
"We just had some guys make some bad decisions. They weren’t making the good reads. They got a little excited, and then we started to settle in here at the end. It’s a 40-minute game. I like some of the things we did. Some other things we have to get better at. But I thought defensively we tried to get them to take some tough shots. But we gave up some offensive rebounds where guys missed assignments. So that’s something we’ve got to shore up, too." — Bo Ryan at halftime during ESPN broadcast
Next: Wisconsin travels to play Iowa at 11 a.m. next Saturday in Iowa City. Iowa lost on Saturday, 67-63, at Purdue to drop to 13-7 overall and 4-3 in Big Ten play.
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