Game Day Grades: No.22 Michigan State

INDIANAPOLIS - Although putting four players in double figures and scoring 49 points in the second half, No.12 Wisconsin couldn't erase its major mistakes in the first half, falling to No.22 Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament semifinals. BadgerNation hands out the grades.

Offense: D+

After shooting 54.5 percent from the field against Minnesota, it was a complete opposite performance for the Wisconsin offense, which struggled to find any kind of rhythm until it was too late in the second half. After starting the game 1-for-10, Wisconsin managed to finish 22-for-50 (44 percent) from the field.

Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin with 28 points and even though he was able to put together two consistent halves, he wasn't as aggressive in the first half as he was in the second half. Kaminsky was looking for ways to score around the rim and managed to get to the free throw line eight times, knocking down all of his free throws.

After Ben Brust's 29-point performance, he couldn't come up with the same performance due to Michigan State's length - scoring 11 points on 3-for-7 shooting. Sam Dekker also had 11 points and Traevon Jackson - after failing to score against Minnesota- finished with 10 points.

Even with Wisconsin struggling to shoot the ball in the first half, the Badgers managed to take care of the ball with only six turnovers. All of Wisconsin's turnovers came off of Michigan State steals, and Dekker had a team high two turnovers.

Defense: D

With Michigan State finally being healthy, opposed to the first matchup against Wisconsin, the Spartans length gave Wisconsin fits on defense. Michigan State opened the game making seven of its first eight shots. In the first ten minutes of the first half, the Spartans only missed twice from the field. Michigan State finished the game 29-for-51 (56.9 percent) from the field.

Adreian Payne wasn't at 100 percent in the first matchup with Wisconsin but with him being fully healthy this time around, he was able to dominate the low post to lead Michigan State in scoring with 18 points (7-for-10 shooting). Payne was in such a rhythm that he was able to step out to knock down both of his 3-point shot attempts.

The rest of Michigan State starters also scored in double figures, including Branden Dawson, who missed the first meeting against UW, finishing 14 points. Travis Trice had 11 points off the bench for Michigan State.

Wisconsin was only able to force Michigan State into eight turnovers, as UW struggled to cut off any passing lanes for the second straight night.

Overall: D

With Wisconsin going 7-for-25 on offense in the first half, they couldn't recover from the poor start by shooting 60 percent in the second half, only managing to get the game as close as six points.

The one thing Wisconsin was able to do consistently was get to the free throw line, managing to go 24-for-31 (77.4 percent) for the game. That production allowed Wisconsin to stay in the game and cut the lead back to single digits.

Wisconsin received great production from its bench against Minnesota with Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes combining for 29-points, but the freshman duo was held to a combined three points, all of which came from the free throw line. Hayes (0-for-5) failed to make a field for the first time since November 27 (West Virginia). Wisconsin's bench was outscored 17-6.

Koenig dished out four assists to one turnover and while his shot wasn't falling, he didn't force any shots and was able to find his way to the rim. Koenig also was able to grab four rebounds in his 21 minutes off the bench.

Dekker, who has struggled as of late on offense, was able to put together another game where he reached double figures on 5-for-10 shooting. Dekker also was able to knock down his first triple since the Penn State game, and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. But the Spartans were able to outrebound Wisconsin 32-to-28.

Game MVP: Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky was able to have a nice bounce-back performance after he only scored six points against Minnesota. Even though he played well, scoring Wisconsin's first seven points of the game, he was kind of timid in the first half, having plenty of chances to get some easy lay ups or draw the foul but was hesitant going up with the basketball. Luckily that changed in the second half to help Wisconsin crawl back in the game, which made it more competitive.

With Kaminsky being the only threat offensively, he couldn't be as aggressive as he was against Minnesota on defense, even though he fouled out trying to help UW extend the game.


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