One minute, 12 seconds into the second half, MSU sophomore guard Shannon Brown hoisted a 3-pointer into the air that clanged hard off the rim, caroming out toward the free throw line. There the Spartans' 6-foot-11 center, Paul Davis, fended off two Badgers to pull down an offensive rebound, giving Brown another chance at a triple from the same spot along the right wing.
Brown's second try also went awry, but fell into the welcoming hands of senior guard Alan Anderson, who made a layup to give MSU a 37-25 edge with 18:35 left to play.
It was the second time in as many second-half possessions that the Spartans had scored off a second – or in this case third – opportunity.
That drew the ire of Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan. When 6-foot point guard Drew Neitzel, the perpetrator of MSU's first second-half offensive rebound, drew a foul at 17:57, Ryan gave forwards Mike Wilkinson and Alando Tucker a breather to try to right a rebounding ship that had gone horribly awry.
But center Andreas Helmigk, who entered the game for Wilkinson, could not box out Davis after Neitzel missed his second free throw attempt. Helmigk then fouled Davis as the latter converted a layup. Davis also made the free throw, capping an 8-2 MSU run to start the second half and giving the Spartans a commanding 41-27 edge.
"Needed to send a couple messages," Ryan said. "This is what coaches do. Send a message and then an offensive rebound off a missed free throw. That's pretty frustrating but they're human beings, they make mistakes and they do some things pretty well. You try to have more of one than the other."
Out-rebounded 20-13 in the first half, the Badgers were topped 5-0 on the glass in the first 2:05 of the second half. Four of those Spartan boards were offensive, leading to seven second-chance points.
"It got us going, got the crowd going," Davis said. "We've been on the flip side of that so we know it kind of took some momentum out of Wisconsin."
Davis led MSU's dominance on the glass, snagging a game-high 11 rebounds, including five offensive boards.
The Spartans, though, out-rebounded UW 34-26 for the game with a solid team effort. The disparity was most apparent on the MSU offensive end, where the Badgers grabbed just 16 defensive boards, while the Spartans corralled 10 offensive.
"We didn't get some bodies on people," Wilkinson said. "There were some long rebounds we didn't corral. When you get hands on things and you don't grab them it can make for a long night sometimes."