Spartans Pull Away From Badgers For Big Road Win


Michigan Basketball: Wolverines must win on the road to win Big Ten

For the most part, things have gone swimmingly for MI basketball during the 2018-19 season and until Tuesday's terrible loss at Penn State, everything seemed to be going to plan.

The game was still within Wisconsin's reach with under a minute to go, but after a failed defensive assignment allowed Michigan State's Kenny Goins to sink a wide open three to give the Spartans a 62-56 lead with 32 seconds to go, the Badgers had foiled their chances of winning.

Perhaps the difference in the game was at the free-throw line.

As for the Spartans, they have been floated by the trio of Cassius Winston, Nick Ward and Joshua Langford, all of whom are averaging 18.6 points, 15.5 points and 15.0 points per game, respectively.

A Spartan perimeter defense that struggled in the first half held Badgers not named Happ to only eight second-half points.

Back came Wisconsin, specifically Happ. With two technical fouls assessed to Beilein, the Nittany Lions would hit three of four free throws to start the half before Zavier Simpson hit a trey in transition, 18 seconds into the half to nullify the free throws.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24: Head coach Greg Gard of the Wisconsin Badgers looks on against the Florida Gators during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional at Madison Square Garden on March 24, 2017 in New York City. Wisconsin led 38-37 heading into the break in what ended up being a high-scoring half.

Happ scored 20 points with 12 rebounds, and Nate Reuvers had 11 points for the Badgers (17-8, 9-5). "He does so many good things for us". The Foresters (16-13, 6-11) led 39-33 at halftime, but fell behind by six with 2:17 left when Wagner hit a big 3-pointer.

Still, his 20 points put him at 2,000 for his career as he became the fourth player in the Big Ten to ever hit that mark and grab 1,000 rebounds.

Ward's first half was impressive offensively and his defense on Happ was in many ways reminiscent of one of his mentors, Gavin Schilling.

In addition to the stout defensive showing, Michigan State out-rebounded Wisconsin 40-28.

Wisconsin will lose close games in the Big Ten, especially to ranked opponents.

That defense eventually culminated in a late-game scoring drought, before the Badgers defense eventually capitulated as the Spartans' lead ballooned to nine.

The Badgers have now lost two in a row after a six-game win streak.

The game is set to tip off at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted nationally on ESPN2.

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