No. 21 Wisconsin blows 14-point lead, loses to No. 3 Michigan

No. 21 Wisconsin blew a 14-point lead and lost 67-59 to No. 3 Michigan on Sunday at the Kohl Center.

The Wolverines hadn’t played since Jan. 22 due to a COVID-19 pause within the athletic department and the Badgers made them look like it in the first half. Wisconsin hit 53.8% of their shots, including going 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. On the other end, Michigan managed to shoot only 34.4%, allowing the Badgers to take a 12-point halftime lead.

But in the second half, the Michigan team that had lost just one game all year, and beaten Wisconsin by 23 in the first meeting, showed up in force. They systematically erased the Badgers lead, eventually taking a 54-53 lead with 5:04 left. A jumper by Jonathan Davis and two free throws by D’Mitrik Trice gave Wisconsin some life but the Badgers were outscored 13-2 the rest of the way as they could not keep freshman Hunter Dickinson off the offensive glass.

Dickinson finished with 15 rebounds, including four offensive rebounds in the final 6:37 of the game. Michigan had 11 offensive rebounds in the game and turned that into 15 second-chance points.

Isaiah Livers led the way on the offensive end for the Wolverines with 20 points, while Franz Wagner added 14.

After shooting so well in the first half, the Badgers were just 7-for-28 (25%) from the field after the break. That included a 1-for-12 effort from beyond the arc. It was the seventh time in the last 10 games that Wisconsin did not shoot better than 32.1% from deep.

Trice led the Badgers with 16 points, while Aleem Ford 15 points, including 13 in the first half. Davis had 11 points off the bench. Wisconsin’s two big men, Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter, combined for 12 points, but neither of them managed to grab a single rebound.

The win allowed Michigan to sweep the season series between the two teams for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

Wisconsin fell to 15-7 on the year and 9-6 in Big Ten play. Things don’t get any easier for the Badgers as they will welcome No. 15 Iowa to Madison on Thursday.