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Michigan basketball suffers 64-59 defeat against Wisconsin

A bizarre night ends in fittingly bizarre fashion.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Wisconsin Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines have had a variety of losses this season, but on Tuesday night against the Wisconsin Badgers, they suffered perhaps their strangest one yet, losing 64-59 in a game chock full of controversy and simply strange performances.

Here’s how the game broke down for the Wolverines:

First half

After weathering an initial five-point run by the Badgers, the Wolverines quickly wrestled the lead away and forced a back-and-forth affair that saw eight lead changes in the first ten minutes of the half.

Coming out of the midway point of the half however, it was all Connor Essegian, as the Badgers went on a 10-2 run virtually off the sole efforts of their starting guard. With the lead at seven points headed into the final five minutes — the largest margin for any team in the half — Michigan fans would’ve been content with simply evening out the momentum. Instead, the Wolverines went all out, making all of their final five shots in the half and outpacing their opponents by an eight point margin; enough to take a single point lead into the locker room.

Statistically, Hunter Dickinson led Michigan’s scoring and rebounding efforts at the half, with nine points and five rebounds respectively.

Second half

The back-and-forth nature of Tuesday’s night game continued into the second half, though an run of six points by Wisconsin gave them the lead headed into the first media timeout. Coming out of the timeout, however, was a completely different story — with five turnovers in three and a half minutes, the Wolverines suddenly found themselves on the wrong end of a 9-2 run, pushing the Badgers’ lead to a game high of eight points.

Although Wisconsin was able to extend the lead to as much as 12 in their favor, the Wolverines slowly crept back into things thanks to Kobe Bufkin, who split the lead in half all by himself on three consecutive makes.

What followed for the next few minutes can only marginally be described as basketball. Though Michigan was able to come within one point of a tie game with four minutes left off of free throws, neither team was able to make a single field goal between them in a staggering 22 field goal tries, virtually freezing the game for almost six minutes of clock.

In the end, despite not making a single field goal in the final 11 minutes of the game, the Badgers escaped with a victory and ended a simply bizarre night for both teams. Statistically, Kobe Bufkin finished as the night’s scoring leader for the Wolverines with 23 points, while Hunter Dickinson finished as the rebounds leader with 12 boards.

What’s next?

Due to the events at Michigan State on Monday, it is undetermined as of press time whether the planned match-up between the Wolverines and the Spartans at Crisler Center on Feb. 19 will proceed as scheduled. Maize n Brew will keep you updated as more information is given. Should the game proceed as planned, tip-off is set at 8 p.m. and will be on FOX.

We at Maize n Brew give our heartfelt condolences and support to the Michigan State community during this unspeakable tragedy.