Michigan upset by Wisconsin, 64-54, for first loss of season

MADISON, Wisc. — It took over two months and 17 games. 

But No. 4 Michigan basketball finally lost.

In a grinding, sloppy game, the Wolverines (17-1, 6-1 Big Ten) took a 64-54 loss at Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center.

Michigan didn’t get anything from its two leading scorers, and the Wolverines compounded matters by turning over the ball 16 times. 

Three takeaways from the game: 

Backbreaking sequence

Michigan was down six with just over three minutes left. 

And then the Wolverines generated four extra chances: A Zavier Simpson steal, Simpson offensive rebound, and then two more offensive rebounds that led to a Jon Teske 3-pointer. 

That gave Michigan some life, and cut Wisconsin’s lead to one possession. 

But the Wolverines couldn’t take advantage.

Teske and Isaiah Livers hit a pair of 3s, but there were two empty possessions in between. And then nothing after. That’s not enough in crunch time.

Offense struggles

Wisconsin went over four minutes without scoring in the second half. 

But Michigan couldn’t take advantage, with wasted possessions and turnovers. 

That’s why one three-point play from the Badgers — the basket that broke their drought — tied the game. The Wolverines had plenty of chances to extend their lead, but the offense simply wasn’t there.

It was symptomatic throughout the game. Aside from Jordan Poole and Teske, Michigan didn’t get any production from the rotation.

The two leading scorers, Ignas Brazdeikis and Charles Matthews, couldn’t get going all game. The two combined for 0 points on 0-of-6 shooting in the first half, and finished the game with as many turnovers as points — five.

Costly turnovers

Both teams entered the game playing at slow tempos. As Michigan has shown, that can be a winning formula as long as the offense executes and doesn’t turn the ball over. 

That wasn’t the case Saturday.

The Wolverines entered the game third in the country in turnovers per game, averaging just 9.5. They finished with 16, tied for a season-worst.

The Wolverines were careless with the ball in crucial moments. As Wisconsin pulled away in the second half, Michigan had three turnovers on four possessions. The Wolverines threw the ball away in transition and in half-court sets. 

The turnovers only compounded the overall offensive struggles.

Contact Orion Sang: osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang.


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