|Michigan falls in foul-filled battle at Wisconsin|
|Written by Matt Pargoff|
The Wolverines led for a significant portion of the second half at Wisconsin on Tuesday evening, but facing a tied game with five minutes remaining, it was the home team that stepped up. The Badgers scored the next nine points as part of a 15-0 run, with Bronson Koenig hitting two three-pointers and Nigel Hayes one, holding on down the stretch to defeat Michigan 68-64.
“I'm really proud of how our kids competed,” said Michigan head coach John Beilein. “We don't have lazy kids, but the competition level has to grow in all phases of our game. We competed right to the final seconds. That's a good step for us and I'm proud. If you don't compete in this league, you're not going to win. This is as difficult of place to win in as it gets.
“Up six with six to play – I've seen that movie before. They did a great job down the stretch. We didn't make some shots, they made some of shots and that's the story.”
Michigan and Wisconsin each entered the matchup among the 10 best nationally for committing the fewest fouls, but the pair struggled to stay out of sight from the refs, combining for 36 infractions. The Wolverines got the worst of that exchange, with six additional calls going against them, while seeing Moritz Wagner, D.J. Wilson and Derrick Walton Jr. foul out.
That wasn’t the only controversy though from the men in stripes, as a late out-of-bounds call that went against Michigan was shown clearly on replay to have not touched the baseline. The play was not reviewed officially though, handing Wisconsin possession of the ball.
“It's all confusing. Confusing,” said Beilein of Michigan’s 21 fouls. “We led the country in not fouling. It's confusing what happened, so we'll just let it go.”
The Wolverines were led by Zak Irvin, who scored 20 points and pulled down six rebounds. Only five Michigan players scored points, with Wagner, Walton and Duncan Robinson also reaching double figures.
The loss drops the Maize and Blue to 12-7 overall and 2-4 in conference play. The Wolverines will return to action on Sat., Jan. 21 at 2:15 p.m. eastern, playing host to Illinois. In the first meeting between the two squads, held just 10 days before the rematch, the Fighting Illini came out on top 85-69.