No. 20 Michigan often lives or dies by perimeter shooting, and the Wolverines certainly lived in the first half at Wisconsin on Sunday.
Thanks to a 65.4 percent shooting performance from the field in the first half, Michigan jumped out to a 22-point halftime lead and held off a late Wisconsin rally in the second half to earn an 83-72 win over the Badgers in a Big Ten contest at Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
Michigan (20-7, 9-5 Big Ten) remained one game behind fourth-place Nebraska in the conference standings, which is important since the top-four seeds earn double-byes in the upcoming Big Ten tournament.
Following a 61-52 loss at Northwestern on Tuesday, Michigan made sure it wouldn’t lose any more ground to Nebraska from the start, opening the game with a 15-2 run and leading 44-22 at halftime.
Michigan went 8 of 14 from 3-point range (57.1 percent) and outrebounded Wisconsin in the first half by a margin of 19-7.
Wisconsin (11-16, 4-10) managed to make a run in the second half, scoring 12 consecutive points to cut Michigan’s lead from 23 down to 11 at 58-47 with 8:55 remaining.
The Badgers closed to within eight points at 71-63 with 2:37 left after a 3-pointer by freshman Aleem Ford, but Michigan built its lead back up to 11 at 77-66 with 1:00 left.
Wisconsin cut Michigan’s lead to seven at 79-72 with 39.8 seconds remaining, but couldn’t get any closer in falling to 2-9 in its last 11 games.
Junior forward Moritz Wagner had 20 points and 11 rebounds, senior Duncan Robinson had 16 points, senior Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 15 points and junior Charles Matthews added 11 points for Michigan.
Junior Ethan Happ scored a game- and season-high 29 points for Wisconsin.
Michigan finished the game shooting 56 percent from the field overall (28 of 50) and 9-of-20 from 3-point range (45 percent).
--Field Level Media