(14) Michigan State 86, (8) Wisconsin 74: Last word

MADISON — No. 13 Michigan State used a 23-4 run in the first half to establish a lead the Spartans would not relinquish on the way to an 86-74 win over eighth-ranked Wisconsin on Friday night at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin’s Player of the Game: Brad Davison’s offense

Davison scored 22 points, the fifth time this year he’s topped 20 points. It included going 6-for-10 from beyond the arc, something that helped the Badgers stay within striking distance. As a team, Wisconsin was 7-for-13 on 3-pointers in the second half and Davison accounted for four of those. The senior is now shooting 37% from deep this year and averaging a career-high 15.4 points per game.

The good: Johnny Davis’ second half

With Wisconsin playing catch up most of the night the Badgers star scored 15 points, putting a tough first half behind him. After going 3-for-13 against a stifling Michigan State defense in the first 20 minutes, he scored 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting and finished with 25 points on the night. It raised his season average to 22.3 points per game, including 24.4 in Big Ten games.

The not so good: The defense

At one point in the second half, Wisconsin had scored 11 points in four possessions but only cut Michigan State’s lead by three points thanks to an inability to get a stop on the defensive end. It was an all-night issue, as the Spartans shot 52.7 percent from the field, helped by scoring 32 points in the paint.

Without the injured Tyler Wahl, the Badgers really struggled with forward Malik Hall, who had a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds. Ben Carlson and Carter Gilmore didn’t give coach Greg Gard what he was looking for in the first half, leading him to go to a four-guard lineup for stretches with 6-foot-5 Jahcobi Neath asked to guard Hall. It went about as well as you’d expect.

Stat of the Game: 43

That is how many points Michigan State got from its bench. Three different guys hit double figures, led by Hall’s 14 and guard A.J. Hoggard’s 12. Bench scoring has been a season-long problem for Wisconsin, which countered the Spartans with just seven points from the reserves.

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In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin was without forward Tyler Wahl due to ankle injury he suffered against Northwestern. He didn’t practice the last two days and his right foot was in a walking boot as he sat on the bench during Friday’s game.

— After playing nine minutes in the last five games combined, forward Ben Carlson got the start in Wahl’s place and saw 23 minutes of action. He overcame a rough first half to finish with six points, two rebounds and a steal.

— Freshman guard Chucky Hepburn was whistled for two flops while guarding a bigger player in the post, with the second one earning him a technical foul.

— The loss dropped the Badgers to 6-2 in Big Ten play, tied with Illinois for second place in the conference. Michigan State moved into first at 6-1.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (15-3, 6-2) is currently scheduled to face Nebraska (6-13, 0-8) on Tuesday night. But due to COVID-19 issues within the Cornhuskers program, that is unlikely to happen.