The Kohl Center has not been a friendly place for most visiting teams since Bo Ryan took over the Badger program four years ago. Wisconsin dropped only its first contest at home during his tenure when the top-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini used a late run to snap the 38-game winning streak at the Kohl. The Badgers entered Wednesday Night's contest against the Michigan Wolverines with that still the only blemish on their stellar home run (28-1). With the undermanned Wolverines reeling from injuries and the suspension of Daniel Horton, they stood little chance of handing the Badgers their second.
Chris Hunter was absent from the lineup for Michigan's 71-62 home loss to the Badgers last month, and the Wolverines hoped his presence in this contest would make a difference down low. He got off to an encouraging start, grabbing a rebound and stuffing it home to give Tommy Amaker's club an early 2-0 lead. Minutes later, though, the 6-11 forward went crashing to the floor after re-injuring his left ankle. His departure meant there was even less interference in the post for Wisconsin senior Mike Wilkinson. The versatile forward had 28 points and 15 rebounds in the previous meeting and scored the opening six points for his club Wednesday to give the Badgers an early 6-4 lead.
Michigan kept up early, getting six points in the post, including four straight from Courtney Sims to stay within two points (10-8) at the 14:02 mark. The Badgers then responded in authoritative fashion. The home team went on a 13-0 run, keyed by back to back three pointers from Alando Tucker, to take a 21-8 lead with 9:19 left in the half. Graham Brown finally ended the drought with a three-point play down low, but that did little to stem the tide. The Badgers outscored the Wolverines 15-6 down the stretch and took a 37-17 lead into the half.
When the Badgers emerged from the locker room, they delivered the knockout blow. An 18-5 run to start the second half put Wisconsin up by thirty (55-25) with 13:35 left in the game, before cruising to the 76-50 victory.
Courtney Sims led the Wolverines with 16 points and eight rebounds. Mike Wilkinson led three Badgers in double figures with 22 points and 10 boards. For the complete boxscore, click here.
Michigan's losing streak now stands at nine games. They will look to end their skid Sunday afternoon at Crisler Arena versus the Indiana Hoosiers.