No. 18 Wisconsin Falls To No. 16 Michigan 59-41
NOAH TRISTER,AP Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — As far as Jordan Taylor can tell, there’s only one way for No. 18 Wisconsin to snap out of this puzzling slump.
“I’m going to keep feeding my guys when they are open, because we’ve got to step up and start hitting shots,” Taylor said. “These are shots that we made all of last season, and we just have to forget what has happened so far and keep working hard. I don’t care if it is our second-best player or No. 17. My job is to get the ball to our shooters, and I’m going to keep trusting them.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points and freshman Trey Burke outplayed Taylor for most of the game Sunday, leading No. 16 Michigan to an impressive 59-41 victory over the Badgers.
It was Wisconsin’s third consecutive loss — only the fifth three-game losing streak for the Badgers in 11 seasons under coach Bo Ryan.
Burke scored 14 points for the Wolverines (13-3, 3-1 Big Ten), who snapped a 10-game losing streak against Wisconsin. Taylor, Wisconsin’s star point guard, was held to 12 points, a majority of which came after Michigan had taken control of the game.
“I try not to really buy into the whole one-on-one challenge, but I knew Jordan Taylor’s a great player,” Burke said. “I just tried my hardest just to contain him as much as possible.”
Michigan bounced back from a two-point loss at No. 12 Indiana on Thursday night. The Wolverines began the game on a 10-2 run and led 25-19 at halftime. A three-point play by Burke in transition made it 43-26.
“He’s playing pretty well, and he’s got a lot of confidence,” Ryan said. “We know he is a player from seeing him on film, but he probably got a little more help today than our guy.”
Wisconsin (12-5, 1-3) was holding opponents to 47 points a game coming in, but it was Michigan’s defense that was the story this time. Taylor was the only Badger to score in double figures.
“It is baffling to me that we could get that many open shots in the paint and open jumpers and end up with the numbers we had,” Ryan said. “Our guys are really beating themselves up right now, but they need to grow and learn. Getting burned is a great lesson, but the lights need to go on for some of these guys, especially if they are going to be getting some major minutes.”
Ryan Evans had six points and 10 rebounds for Wisconsin.
With both teams content to play at a methodical pace, even minor swings took on added importance. Hardaway began the second half with a 3-pointer after Michigan came up with an offensive rebound. He then added two free throws, and a basket by Jordan Morgan made it 32-19.
Burke was part of two of the game’s biggest highlights. His three-point play — with Taylor back defensively but unable to stop him — gave Michigan a 17-point lead. Later, when Wisconsin turned the ball over, Michigan’s Stu Douglass and Zack Novak both went diving onto the court. Novak came up with the ball and flipped it over his head to Burke at midcourt, and the 5-foot-11 guard went all the way for an easy layup and a 49-33 lead.
Novak scored 12 points.
Michigan led 10-2 before the Badgers scored 10 straight points to take the lead on Taylor’s layup. The half was tightly contested throughout, with Wisconsin forcing the Wolverines to put the ball on the floor instead of simply spotting up from 3-point range.
The Badgers did leave Hardaway open for a 3-pointer that gave Michigan a 16-14 lead, and Evan Smotrycz followed with one of his own. Burke made a couple of shots late in the half, and the Wolverines took a six-point lead into halftime.
Taylor finished the half with four points on 2-of-8 shooting.
At halftime, Michigan introduced several former players, including Cazzie Russell and Rudy Tomjanovich, as part of a dedication weekend for the program’s new player development center.
Wisconsin’s Josh Gasser was held to four points. It was Gasser’s banked 3-pointer at the buzzer that won the game for Wisconsin in Ann Arbor last season.