Game Day Grades - Michigan

Nothing is easy on the road in the Big Ten, but No.6 Wisconsin made it looked easy in overtime. After Michigan had all the momentum at the end of regulation, the Badgers relied on big Frank Kaminsky to carry Wisconsin to the finish line. BadgerNation hands out the grades from UW's 67-62 win.

Offense: B+

The offense for Wisconsin was up and down against Michigan, able to build an 11-point lead only to watch it slip away over the next five minutes. Despite the inconsistency on offense, the Badgers did shoot 47.1 percent (24-for-51) from the field. Frank Kaminsky led all Badger scorers with 22 points in 43 minutes of work – his sixth 20-plus-point game of the season.

Three other players for Wisconsin finished in double figures: Sam Dekker had 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting, Bronson Koenig had 13 points, and Nigel Hayes scored 10 points. Josh Gasser finished the game with nine points on 3-for-7 shooting. The Badger bench failed to score a point on a combined three shot attempts, the second time the bench has gone scoreless.

With the starters needing to carry the load, the Badgers found a way to score in a variety of ways. UW finished the game 7-for-21 from three, which helped prevent Michigan from playing zone the entire night against the Badgers, and scored 30 points in the paint by taking advantage of the undersized frontcourt.

Despite only committing one turnover against Iowa, the Badgers didn’t have the same luck in Ann Arbor. Although UW committed eight turnovers, the Badgers had only two miscues in the second half and overtime, allowing them to make some key plays down the stretch.

Defense: B

Wisconsin was able to establish the 11-point lead at the 16:04 mark in the second half, but Michigan erased the deficit in five minutes. During that stretch the defense allowed Michigan to shoot 4-for-8 from the field, including allowing Michigan to grab four offensive rebounds that led to six points.

Without having to worry about Caris LeVert, the Badgers were able to hold Michigan’s second-leading scorer Zak Irvin to 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting from the field in 40 minutes of work. Even though Derrick Walton ended up scoring a team-high 17 points, it took him 12 attempts from the floor and eight shots from the free throw line to get there. Walton scored seven of his points by having success driving to the hoop and also hit two of his five 3-pointers, including one in the final seconds to send the game to overtime.

Wisconsin’s defense was able to force Michigan into nine turnovers, which they converted into 10 points. Despite Walton having success getting into the lane and consistently drawing fouls, the Badgers were able to force him into five turnovers. Four of the nine turnovers came off of Badger steals, with Gasser and Hayes each had two steals in the game.

Overall: B

UW had opportunities to build off the lead and close out the game in regulation. But when they needed to the most in overtime, Wisconsin held Michigan to seven points on 2-for-5 shooting from the field. It was also good to see Wisconsin respond and keep its confidence, especially without clutch player Traevon Jackson on the floor. Koenig deserves credit in keeping this veteran team focused and not letting them panic in a game with four lead changes and six ties.

It would have been easy to let the Walton’s shot to tie the game at the end of regulation linger into overtime, but the Badgers registered the first six points of the overtime period and never relented. Walton’s shot was a result of him able to get open off a screen and miscommunication between Gasser and Duje Dukan. Wisconsin needs to be able to hedge that play and get a hand in his face so the shot can be at least contested, especially since a two-point bucket doesn’t hurt them.

Wisconsin did find ways of getting to the free throw line, finishing 14-for-19, but Gasser missed a critical one-and-one situation toward the end of the second half that left points on the board. On the other hand, Koenig, who had only attempted eight free throws entering the game, went 3-for-4 from the free throw line, all coming in the last 20 seconds of regulation, to give the Badgers a chance at winning.

The Badgers lost the rebounding battling (33-30) despite having the height advantage, but was able to grab nine offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points. Michigan had 11 offensive rebounds and equaled UW’s second-chance point total.

Even though Wisconsin blew a lead, Bo Ryan can take solace in is the fact that they took care of the ball well in the second half and overtime. The way Michigan kept fighting back in the second half, Wisconsin couldn’t give them many opportunities on the offensive end. Michigan was only able to cash in seven points on the Badgers eight turnovers.

Game MVP: Frank Kaminsky. As expected, Kaminsky won his battle against Ricky Doyle by going 8-for-13 from the field and falling one rebound short of a double-double. It was the third time in the last four games Kaminsky scored at least 20 points, and the senior All-American came alive in overtime with eight of his points. When Kaminsky needed to step up the most, he was able to use one of his post moves to score buckets or get to the free throw line. Kaminsky finished 6-for-8 from the line.

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