A career high 25-point effort by Caris LeVert Saturday was not nearly enough to keep No. 21 Wisconsin from its 75-62 win over the No. 15 Michigan Wolverines.
Michigan’s defense on Wisconsin’s seven-footer Frank Kaminsky was also not nearly enough as the junior center also scored 25 points while adding a game 11 rebounds. Not to make excuses, but Michigan really misses 6-10 center Mitch McGary in certain situations.
To say that the Michigan basketball team got off to a slow start is a bit of an understatement.
No assists in first half
The Badgers, who’ve now won fourth straight, turned Michigan into a dribble and shoot team in the early going, opening a 21-9 lead midway through the first half. In fact, Michigan played the entire first stanza without an assist, finishing the game with only two . The Wolverines couldn’t shoot in the first half either, hitting just seven of 22, for a paltry 32%.
Wisconsin was able to create several mismatches for Kaminsky, who was able to knock down 11 of 16 shots including a take-this three pointer that gave the Badgers a 65-52 lead with 2:17 left in the game.
Michigan actually brought some life into the Crisler Center crowd of 12,707 by producing a 9-0 run which cut the Badger lead to 52-49 with six minutes remaining. But a trio of Kaminsky jumpers extended the lead to seven and quieted the crowd for good.
LeVert, who originally committed to Ohio University but was released because his coach left for another school, played with his usual energy and quickness. Thinking back, his speed is reminiscent of former Michigan guard Ricky Green.
With five of six shooting from behind the arc, and a team high six rebounds, LeVert was the only Wolverine Wisconsin couldn’t handle.
For Michigan (18-7, 10-3), Nik Stauskas scored a very quiet 11 points and Glenn Robinson had 10. Sam Dekker had 15 points and nine rebounds for Wisconsin, while Josh Gasser added 13 points.
The win gave Wisconsin (21-5, 8-5) a split in the two-game series with the Wolverines, who fell to 10-3 in the Big Ten and 18-7 overall.
It doesn’t get easier for the Wolverines as they host No. 9 Michigan State (21-5, 10-3), this coming Sunday (Feb. 23). The Spartans were surprised at home by Nebraska (14-10, 6-6), 60-51 Sunday afternoon (Feb. 16).
The losses by Michigan and Michigan State kept the two teams tied atop the Big Ten Standings. ♦
Big Ten Standings
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer