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Michigan basketball falls at Wisconsin for first loss of season

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The Wolverines lost in a poor performance in Madison.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines lost their first game of the season, falling at Wisconsin 64-54. It was the worst performance of the season by far for the Wolverines.

Michigan’s top two leading scorers, Charles Matthews and Ignas Brazdeikis, combined for five points on 2-of-5 shooting.

Jordan Poole took it upon himself to be the leader in this game, and it worked in the first half as he scored 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. But in the second half, the Wisconsin defense added more pressure on him, limiting Poole to 1-of-6 in the final 20 minutes.

The Wolverines were without a viable option offensively as these three were all cold in the second half.

Add that with 16 turnovers for the Wolverines and it makes a recipe for an upset.

There were spurts where Michigan looked to pull away in the first half. The Wolverines held Wisconsin to just 25 points in the first half, including a five-minute stretch where the Badgers didn’t score.

But the Badgers never went away. They continued to fight back and re-take the lead every time it looked like the Wolverines could pull away.

The whole game was a back-and-forth mess of hustle plays, fouls, bad turnovers and ugly looking possessions for both teams. The Badgers ended up being the better team because they righted the ship late in the second half.

The Wolverines pulled ahead to a 43-40 lead after an emphatic transition dunk by Isaiah Livers with about nine minutes left. At the time, it looked like the exclamation mark the Wolverines needed to pull away in this game.

Wisconsin would go on a 24-11 run to end it. The Wolverines kept it close with late three-pointers from Livers and Teske, but the Badgers pulled away.

An intentional foul by Brazdeikis on Ethan Happ gave the Badgers a four-point lead and the ball with under a minute to go. The Badgers sealed the deal as they scored eight points in the final minute of the game to win by 10.

A big reason for the loss was Ignas Brazdeikis’ play. He looked like a freshman for the first time this season as he was 0-of-5, had three fouls and two turnovers.

Zavier Simpson tallied his second double-double (11 points, 10 assists) on the season and was the heart and soul of this team. His play was not enough to push the Wolverines to victory.

The Badgers forced a win away from Michigan by out-defending them and by showing more hustle. The Wolverines shot 27.8 percent from deep and 22-of-54 from the field.

Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ scored 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as he almost single-handedly took down the Wolverines offensively.

John Beilein moves to 5-17 against Wisconsin in his time at Ann Arbor. Michigan also moves to 2-14 all-time at the Kohl’s Center.

The Wolverines will look to bounce back as they host the Minnesota Gophers (13-4) on Tuesday.