Badgers, Kaminsky too much for Spartans

Wisconsin senior racks up 31 points as Michigan State had no answer for him on Sunday.

Michigan State found out Sunday what teams that have played Wisconsin already this season knew: Frank Kaminsky is really, really good.

The Badgers senior forward and national player of the year candidate finished with 31 points as the Badgers beat Michigan State 68-61 in Madison.

Kaminsky, on senior day, hit 3 of 4 from 3-point range and 11 of 17 from the field as he spun, posted up and knocked down jumpers and the Spartans did not have an answer.

Branden Dawson, coming off a game that drew Tom Izzo’s ire against Minnesota, did not start as Izzo opted for freshman Marvin Clark instead. Once entering the game, Dawson struggled as he had against the Gophers. The senior forward had just four points and two rebounds.

After Michigan State took an early 13-11 lead following a slow start from the field, Kaminsky fueled a 15-4 run that gave Wisconsin the lead for good. The Spartans trailed 36-25 at halftime – thanks to Bryn Forbes, who scored 11 of his season-high 21 points in the first half coming off the bench.

But the Badgers went on an 11-0 run to open the second half as the Spartans did not score until Forbes got MSU on the board 4:29 into the half.

Wisconsin held a lead around 20 points for much of the second half, but Michigan State whittled away at the lead and got it to 12 on a 7-0 run. But with less than five minutes to go, Travis Trice and Alvin Ellis missed layup attempts to pull it closer and Wisconsin kept its distance.

A Trice 3 pulled MSU within 10 with 44 seconds to go and Forbes hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game to make it a seven-point final.

Trice finished with 16 points and Denzel Valentine had 10, but MSU’s big three of Trice/Valentine/Dawson combined for just 30 of MSU’s 61 points.

The Spartans, who looked to be off the NCAA Tournament bubble at the start of the week, find themselves back on it with an 0-2 week. They close out against Purdue and at Indiana before heading to the Big Ten Tournament – and in need of a win or two to try and keep itself on the right side of the bubble.

The Badgers clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title with the win.

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