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No.11 Wisconsin loses 64-58 to Michigan to tighten the Big Ten conference race

A hot-shooting first half gave false hope to No.11 Wisconsin, which went cold in the second half of its 64-58 defeat at Michigan, dropping the Badgers into a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten.

ANN ARBOR, Mich . – In a game that featured eight ties and 11 lead changes, Muhammad Abdur-Rahkman scored six straight points – including a four-point play – that gave Michigan a big boost to its postseason resume with a 64-58 victory over No.11 Wisconsin at the Crisler Center Thursday.

Moritz Wagner scored 21 points (8.1 above his season average), Zak Irvin added 18 and Abdur-Rahkman scored 12 points for Michigan (17-9, 7-6 Big Ten), which won for just the third time in 20 meetings against the Badgers.

Ethan Happ scored 22 points before fouling out in the final minute for Wisconsin (21-5, 10-3 Big Ten), which has lost two straight for the first time since March 2016 and fell back into a three-way tie in the conference standings.

Wisconsin played without senior Bronson Koenig, who was ruled out Thursday morning to rest his ailing left calf. It was the first game Koenig, who had averaged 15 points in four career meetings against Michigan, had missed since the second game of his true freshman season, and the first time in 38 games UW had a change to its starting lineup.

True freshman D'Mitrik Trice started in Koenig’s place – becoming just the fifth true freshman to start for Wisconsin since 2000 – but the point guard finished with nine points on 2-for-15 shooting, not to mention delivered the foul on Abdur-Rahkman’s 3-point make. Trice added five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

The Badgers battled without their floor general, taking a 47-45 lead with 10:47 remaining on Zak Showalter’s 3-point play. The offense went south after that, going scoreless for 4:28 on seven consecutive empty possessions. Michigan outscored UW 13-3 run over the next six minutes to deliver the dagger. UW was 9-for-29 (31 percent) in the second half.

Happ was responsible for 27 of Wisconsin's 31 points in the first half, scoring 18 points (one more than the last two games combined) and four assists that led to nine points. Michigan held him to only four points in the second half while the sophomore committed all five of his fouls.

Wisconsin returns home for a critical Sunday afternoon match-up against Maryland (22-4, 10-3), the only regular season meeting between the two schools.

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