(15) Wisconsin 77, Michigan 63: Last word

MADISON — An ugly postgame scene overshadowed No. 15 Wisconsin’s 77-63 win over Michigan on Sunday at the Kohl Center.

Player of the Game: Johnny Davis

For a third time in the last four games, the Badgers got a Player of Year-like effort from Johnny Davis. He dropped 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. The sophomore did quite a bit of his damage when Wisconsin went on its 23-3 run to erase a five-point deficit early in the second half. That included a personal 9-0 run to push the Badgers lead to 15. Of his 25 points, 17 came after the break.

In the four games since shooting 2-for-13 against Penn State, Davis has hit 64.2% of his shots, while averaging 22.3 points and grabbing eight rebounds per game. It has put him right back near the top of the list for Big Ten Player of the Year and National Player of the Year.

The good: The bench

Wisconsin has not gotten a ton of production from its bench this year but it got nice contributions Sunday. Jahcobi Neath hadn’t scored in six games but gave the Badgers six points in 12 minutes of action. He was getting more time due to the absence of guard Lorne Bowman (illness – non-COVID). Chris Vogt also battled down low against Hunter Dickinson had provided four points. Though he didn’t score, Ben Carlson added six rebounds in just nine minutes of action.

The not so good: The postgame

You can find a detailed, blow-by-blow description of the postgame situation here.

My take? Juwan Howard deserves a significant punishment from the Big Ten for his actions. To turn a verbal altercation into a physical one in that setting is unacceptable. Say want you want about Greg Gard stopping Howard after being told “I’ll remember that” for calling a late timeout, but what the Michigan coach did can’t be overstated. He lost his cool, something that has happened a number of times during his short tenure in Ann Arbor.

If Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is going to hold players accountable for perceived patterns of behavior (see: Davison, Brad in 2020), then he must certainly do the same to coaches who should be held to an even higher standard. Whether its multiple games or the rest of the season, Howard should be taken off of Michigan’s bench for a period of time that shows the Big Ten understands the severity of his actions.

Stat of the Game: Five

That’s how many starters were in double figures for the Badgers. In addition to Davis going for 25, Steven Crowl had 11, while Tyler Wahl, Brad Davison and Chucky Hepburn each had 10.

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In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin, finally, retired the number of Michael Finley. The former Badgers great was honored with a halftime ceremony that saw his No. 24 jersey lifted into the rafters of the Kohl Center. He became the third former player to earn that honor, joining Ab Nicholas and Frank Kaminsky.

— The win moved Wisconsin to 12-4 in Big Ten play with four games remaining. The Badgers are sitting in a tie with Illinois for second in the conference, a ½ game back of Purdue (13-4).

What’s next?

Wisconsin (21-5, 12-4) will hit the road to face Minnesota (13-12, 4-12) on Wednesday in Minneapolis.