Wisconsin 64, (14) Michigan State 63: Last word

MADISON — Fighting through a week adversity, the Wisconsin basketball did just enough to upset No. 14 Michigan State 64-63 on Saturday at the Kohl Center.

Player of the Game: D’Mitrik Trice, Brevin Pritzl

With Brad Davison suspended and Kobe King leaving the team, the two starting guards played 78 of a possible 80 minutes against the Spartans. The duo combined for 24 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and just two turnovers. They didn’t shoot it great, especially in the second half, but they did just enough to get Wisconsin across the finish line with a win.

The good: Aleem Ford

The last time Wisconsin played Michigan State, Ford played just six minutes and didn’t score. On Saturday, the junior played 34 minutes and scored 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting. His back-to-back 3-pointers late in the second half were huge when the Badgers were struggling to get anything going offensively. He was also strong on the defensive end and helped limit the Spartans to just two offensive rebounds after halftime. It was easily Ford’s best all around game of the season.

The not so good: The final 7:27 on offense

Wisconsin did not make a single shot in the final 7:27 of the game and scored just four points overall. That came five days after the Badgers had only five points in the final 7:13 of a loss at Iowa. Luckily for them, they were much better defensively on Saturday and held off the Spartans.

Stat of the Game: 2

That’s how many points Tyler Wahl scored, but it’s also evidence that you don’t need to put up a bunch of points to have an impact. Making his second career start, the true freshman also had several big rebounds late in the game and a huge block of a Michigan State shot with 17 seconds left.

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What they said:

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo

“We got our ass kicked today by a team that played for their coach, played for their school, played for each other.”

Wisconsin coach Greg Gard

“Proud of our guys and the guys in that locker room that really embrace and appreciate and understand what it means to wear that Wisconsin jersey.”

In Case You Missed It

— Guard Brad Davison missed the game due to a one-game suspension handed down by the Big Ten for his flagrant foul on Monday at Iowa. Davison sat on the bench Saturday and acted as another assistant coach throughout the game.

— King officially left the program midweek and on his way out told the Wisconsin State Journal that he felt Gard treated him like a servant, only interested in how he could help the coach win games. At least one national writer, Rob Dauster, said the program had fallen into disarray with the Davison and King news. That, combined with having lost three of their last four games, led to at least some boos when Gard was introduced prior to the game. While he didn’t show it after the game, the week was clearly an emotional one for the fourth-year head coach. It’s notable that much of Gard’s immediate family stood in the back of the room during his post-game press conference.

— With Davison and King not available, the Badgers had just seven scholarship players dressed. All seven played, with walk-on Walt McGrory also getting three minutes of action.

— Nate Reuvers led Wisconsin in scoring with 15 points. He was one of four Badgers to hit double digits and also hit two 3-pointers.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (13-9, 6-5) will travel Minnesota (11-10, 5-6) on Wednesday to take on the Gophers.