Wisconsin Ruins Big 10 Opener

No. 24 Wisconsin ruined Michigan's Big 10 opener on the hardwood floor on Wednesday night at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. After falling behind 34-18 in the first half, the Wolverines were unable to overcome the 16-point Badgers advantage in a 70-54 loss that puts the Wolverines at 0-1 in Big 10 play.

ANN ARBOR -- The Wolverines dropped to 0-1 in Big 10 play, and 4-9 on the season, with a 70-54 loss to the No. 24 Wisconsin Badgers on Wednesday night at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. Despite matching Wisconsin point-for-point in the second half, poor shooting in the opening 20 minutes cost the Wolverines as the Maize and Blue never recovered from the 34-18 halftime deficit.

The visiting Badgers held the Wolverines scoreless over the first seven minutes of the contest and put the game out of reach with a 10-0 run before the Maize and Blue even found the bottom of the basket.

"I think we obviously played a terrific team today, a team doesn't go down and win in Texas without (Trevon) Hughes, and then they come here and they have him; they're just a very good basketball team," Michigan coach John Beilein said following the loss.

"Now (Jon) Leuer, he's a little (Kevin) Pittsnogle out there, he's hard to get to, and he was a great story for this game today. Every time we get close Leuer did something great. What I like about him is that he's not just an outside shooter, he has a sense of where the ball is coming off of the rim and his offensive rebounds are terrific."

Zach Gibson ended the Wolverines scoring drought with a triple to make it a seven-point game, but Michigan didn't get much closer.

Trimming the lead to five minutes later, Michigan looked ready to make a run at the visiting Badgers. Wisconsin, however, answered with a second 10-point run, this one coming with an 18-8 edge in points, to make it 34-18 Wisconsin at the break.

"Guys did not come ready to play. In the Big Ten, you really can't have a let down against any team. They can jump ahead really quick. We just have to get mentally tougher," said senior Ron Coleman, who finished with just four points in the game.

Anthony Wright led the Michigan scorers with five points in the first half.

The Wolverines battled back in the second half of play. Falling behind by 20 points just minutes in, a 17-5 Michigan run that saw buckets from Manny Harris, the Wolverines leading scorer in the contest, Coleman, Kelvin Grady, Gibson and DeShawn Sims the Wolverines back within striking distance.

Following a pair of free throws made by Harris to make trim the lead to 47-38, Wisconsin's Leuer sunk the hopes of a Michigan comeback with a quick basket on the way to his game-high 25 points.

Michigan would trim the lead to eight points one more time on a Grady triple, but that was as close as they would get as the Badgers pulled away in the final six minutes.

Michigan's next opportunity to record its first Big 10 win comes when the Wolverines travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

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