Walton Jr. Forces OT, Wisconsin Escapes 69-64

A Derrick Walton Jr. three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left in regulation pushed Michigan to overtime with No. 6 Wisconsin but it wasn’t enough as the Badgers held on for a 69-64 win at Crisler Center.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Derrick Walton Jr.’s three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left in regulation forced overtime with No. 6 Wisconsin but the Badgers flipped momentum back in it’s favor led by a 22-point effort out of Frank Kaminsky to escape Crisler Center with a 69-64 win over Michigan.

After Walton Jr.’s late heroics the Badgers once again leaned on National Player of the Year candidate Kaminsky who began the extra time with a strong finish inside plus the foul. A three-pointer out of Josh Gasser quickly pushed the Wisconsin (18-2, 6-1) lead to six, sucking the life out of the Wolverines (12-8, 5-3).

In the it’s second test since losing Caris LeVert for the season following foot surgery, Walton Jr. led Michigan in scoring with 17-points, including the final seven points of regulation for the Wolverines, despite also leading the team with five turnovers.

Zak Irvin hit double figures with 12-points on just 5-of-15 shooting from the field to go with a strong effort from Max Bielfeldt with nine-points and six-rebounds off the bench.

"The hope right now is that we can learn from this game,” Michigan coach John Beilein said afterward. “My competitive instincts take over and I do not like losing a game like that. At the same time, our kids know that they can play and they can be a good team and they have to continue to work really hard because the margin for error is so small.

“Credit Wisconsin; they are a heck of a team and they had a great plan. It really was a great basketball. Our 12,700 fans did not go home happy but my hope is that they can at least say they saw a good game."

Wisconsin had four scorers in double figures including 15-points from Sam Dekker and 13 from Bronson Koenig.

Michigan came out with an inspired effort in the first half, tied at 21 with 3:38 to play before the break. Wisconsin then ended the first half on a 9-2 run spearheaded by a thunderous dunk by Dekker followed by a Nigel Hayes three-pointer in the closing seconds as the Badgers took a 30-23 advantage into the break.

"With or without Caris, we feel like we are able to compete with anybody,” Walton Jr. said. “Most of all, I am really proud of the younger guys being able to showcase what they can do with the opportunity they are given. I think tonight and other games prove we can play with anybody."

Wisconsin appeared to be taking control of the game to open up the second half, back-to-back buckets by Kaminsky followed by another dunk by Dekker gave the Badgers a 38-27 lead to force a Michigan timeout.

The Wolverines responded with an 11-0 run ending with a nice find from Irvin to Mark Donnal tying the game back up at 38 just over midway through the second half.

Wisconsin held a lead over the next 10 minutes as Michigan continued to hang around. Beilein called a timeout after a Walton Jr. lay-up cut the Badgers’ lead to 54-52 with 22 seconds left.

Electing to foul out of the timeout, Koenig missed the second of two free throws as Wisconsin decided to send Walton Jr. to the line at the other end, Michigan’s sophomore point guard nailing both to make it 55-54 Badgers.

Koenig hit both free throws the next time down with 10 seconds remaining to push Wisconsin’s lead to 57-54.

On the ensuing possession for Michigan, Walton Jr. collected a feed from Aubrey Dawkins knocking down a three-pointer with just 1.3 seconds left to tie the game, bring the crowd to it’s feet once again.

In overtime, Wisconsin seized control, leading by as many as seven, holding for the 69-64 win.

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