Despite shooting 55 percent from the field, the Spartans could not get past the pesky Badgers, falling 64-53 in Madison.
Freshman forward Erazem Lorbek kept the Spartans (13-9 overall, 5-5 Big Ten) in the game in the second half, scoring a career-high 19 points, but Wisconsins ball control and a crucial 9-0 run in the final four and a half minutes was too much to overcome.
The win was the 13th straight Big Ten win for the Badgers at Kohl Center.
At the 5:26 mark, sophomore guard Kelvin Torbert hit a tough runner in the lane to tie the game at 48-48. The shot capped off seven straight field goals by the Spartans, but that was all they could muster as it was all Badgers from there on out.
Wisconsin guard Kirk Penney scored on a tough lay-up over Chris Hill, then knocked in two free throws. Forward Alando Tucker added a three-pointer, followed by two free throws from guard Devin Harris.
Lorbek scored five in a row, which included a three-pointer to cut the lead to 57-53, but that was as close as MSU would get. The freshman from Slovenia scored 19 of the Spartans 26 points in the second half, with senior forward Al Anagonye and freshman forward Paul Davis sitting on the bench with foul trouble.
Wisconsin was led by a trio of players all scoring 14 points. Forward Mike Wilkinson scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half. Penney and Harris were the other leading scorers for the Badgers.
That game was back in forth in the first half with Wisconsin eventually taking the biggest lead right before halftime at 41-37.
Senior forward Adam Ballinger led the Spartans in scoring in the first half with nine points, but did not score in the second half.
Wisconsin had the second best field goal percentage in the league coming into the game, but only hit 37.7 percent of its shots, but it was offensive rebounds that did the Spartans in. The Spartans also turned it over 15 times, compared to the Badgers five.
MSU will come back to the Breslin Center for a Saturday matinee against the Wildcats of Northwestern.