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Badger men fall to Michigan

Published On: Jan 18 2014 09:44:12 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 19 2014 09:19:09 AM CST

MADISON, Wis. -

This is a week No. 3 Wisconsin might like to forget.

Two straight losses after a school-best 16-0 start have the Badgers thinking about defense.

Wisconsin got within a point late after falling behind by 15, but fell short after Nik Stauskas' 3 with less than a minute left helped Michigan hold on for a 77-70 win Saturday.

The Badgers couldn't overcome the big deficit in large part due to Michigan shooting 60 percent from the field in the first half. Defense is uncharacteristically an issue for Wisconsin.

"See I know the weaknesses. I know that people will find out eventually," coach Bo Ryan said. "You know, some of these guys have to fight through some of this."

Josh Gasser had 16 points for the Badgers (16-2, 3-2 Big Ten), while Ben Brust and Frank Kaminsky each added 14.

Caris LeVert scored 20 for the Wolverines (13-4, 5-0 Big Ten), who held on for their first road win at Wisconsin since 1999.

The Badgers (16-2, 3-2) went on a 14-2 run late, and Brust's putback got them within 68-67 with about 2 minutes left.

But after whiffing on a 3 from the right wing, Stauskas hit a step-back from 3 from the left side to give Michigan a 71-67 lead.

Stauskas said his first thought was to go to the rim, but that defender Nigel Hayes was overplaying him.

"He kind of slid forward a little bit and I was open for 3 and I just tried to be aggressive and shoot it," Stauskas said.

He added four foul shots in the final 24.7 seconds to seal Michigan's seventh straight win. Stauskas had 16 in the second half.

Defense was a problem again for the Badgers in their second straight loss after allowing Indiana to shoot 51 percent earlier in the week. Michigan finished the night shooting 54 percent.

Ryan liked the effort for the most part. The Badgers credited their opponents for making their share of tough shots. Michigan got good looks inside early with crisp interior passing, though Ryan said he was happy overall with his team's ball-screen defense.

But it was two 3s by LeVert in the first half that especially frustrated Wisconsin's coach.

"Sometimes when you're trying to fix something, guys aren't quite sure and you just have to keep working through it," Ryan said.

Still, the Badgers came back, bolstered by boisterous students back in town for the spring semester. The Kohl Center was rocking after the Badgers' late run, during which Michigan at one point missed four shots and committed two turnovers.

Hayes' short jumper got Wisconsin within six with 4:45 to go before Brust put back his own rebound to get Wisconsin within a point.

That's when Michigan turned to Stauskas. His first 3-point attempt glanced off the rim but Michigan retained possession after a foul was called on Gasser.

The ball went back to Stauskas, who shook off Hayes on the perimeter and coolly hit his 3 for a late four-point lead.

"It's a very humbling game for sure, but we have no time to feel sorry for ourselves by any means," Brust said.

Wisconsin has to figure things out quickly with road games at Minnesota and Purdue up next.

Glenn Robinson III added 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting for Michigan, while Sam Dekker finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Michigan also took advantage of uncharacteristically sloppy play by the usually savvy Badgers, stretching a five-point halftime lead to as much as 15 midway through the second half.

Brust shot an airball coming out of a timeout, and Jon Horford hit a short hesitation jumper to make it 51-40 with about 14:40 left.

Stauskas later pumped his arms after hitting a 3 from the wing for Michigan to get the lead to 13.

"We're going to win this game and we're going to win the game by being aggressive and if you're afraid to shoot it, you're afraid to take it at them, then let's get (you) out of the game, is the message," Beilein said. "And nobody checked out."

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