Michigan tops Wisconsin in Big Ten title game 71-56

WASHINGTON — Derrick Walton, Jr. led the Michigan Wolverines to their first Big Ten tournament championship Sunday afternoon, defeating the Wisconsin Badgers 71-56.

Walton was a focal point for the Badgers defensively, but he still managed a game-high 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting. He added six rebounds and seven assists, while Bronson Koenig finished with 15 points for Wisconsin.

Koenig was an important piece for a Wisconsin team that battled back from a 10-point deficit to get within one point before halftime. Unfortunately for the Badgers, they’d come out of halftime to go nearly eight minutes without a field goal. The Badgers struggled shooting, despite grabbing 13 rebounds on the offensive glass.

Nigel Hayes added 14 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort for Wisconsin.

Happ, Koenig, Hayes and Showalter earn All-Big Ten recognition

MADISON — Wisconsin’s season didn’t end with a Big Ten regular season title, but several players still earned recognition for their work during the conference season when the All-Big Ten teams were announced Monday.

Forward Ethan Happ was a first-team pick by the coaches and media, becoming just the second Wisconsin sophomore to earn the honor, joining Michael Finley. Happ led the Badgers in rebounds, assists, blocks and steals per game, while finishing second in points. His selection also makes it four straight years where the Badgers have at least one All-Big Ten first-team player.

Senior Bronson Koenig was named to the second-team by the coaches after leading Wisconsin at 14.2 points per game during the season, including 17 in his final home game on Sunday against Minnesota. Koenig was a third-team pick by the media.

In his final season, Nigel Hayes earned third-team honors from both the coaches and the media after scoring 13.5 points and grabbing 6.2 rebounds per game.

Happ and senior Zak Showalter were named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive Team, the second time for Happ and the first for Showalter. Wisconsin led the Big Ten in scoring defense at 61.4 points per game.

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, with Michigan State’s Malcom Bridges earning Freshman of the Year honors and Minnesota’s Richard Pitino picking up the Coach of the Year award.

The full list of award winners can be found here.

Wisconsin falls at Michigan State

Nigel Hayes scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but No. 16 Wisconsin fell for a second straight game, this time 84-74 at Michigan State on Sunday.

The Badgers got out to a solid start, leading 10-4, but the Spartans would score 15 of the next 19 points to take a lead they would not relinquish. Center Nick Ward scored a team-high 22 points for Michigan State, while forward Miles Bridges added 17 and guard Matt McQuaid came off the bench to contribute 15.

Wisconsin’s issues were aplenty, including going just 13 of 25 from the foul line, making a brutal 14 of 31 layups and allowing 80-plus points in back-to-back Big Ten games for the first time since 1993. It all led to the Badgers fourth loss in their last five games.

Hayes’ afternoon, which also included four assists and solid defense on Bridgers, overshadowed by a 4 of 12 effort from the foul line.

Wisconsin’s Zak Showalter played well offensively, scoring 15 points, including three 3-pointers, while Bronson Koenig went for 17 points (1 of 9 on 3-pointers).

The Badgers leading scorer coming in, sophomore Ethan Happ, had just eight points but did grab 11 boards.

The loss leaves Wisconsin (22-7, 11-5) one-game back of Purdue and one-game up on Maryland, Michigan State and Minnesota in the Big Ten standings. The Badgers will finish out the conference season with a pair of home games — Thursday against Iowa and Sunday against Minnesota.

No. 16 Wisconsin upset at Ohio State 83-73

Bronson Koenig scored had 27 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough for No. 16 Wisconsin in an embarrassing 83-73 loss at Ohio State Thursday night.

The Buckeyes, just 5-10 in Big Ten play coming in, trailed for only 2:59 of the game on their way to easily their best win of the season. Coach Thad Matta’s team made 10 of their 16 3-point attempts, a high in conference play, and shot 50 percent for the game — just the fourth team this year to do that against Wisconsin.

Ohio State was paced by C.J. Jackson’s 18 points, while JaQuan Lyle added 17 off the bench.

Koenig was the lone consistent weapon for Wisconsin, who lost for a third time in four games. The senior went 5 of 9 from beyond the arc, and in doing so passed Ben Brust for the most 3-pointers in school history.

The other members of Wisconsin’s ‘Big 3’ — Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ — combined for just 11 points on 4 of 11 shooting, and for just the third time this year, Happ didn’t shoot a single free throw.

The loss dropped the Badgers (22-6, 11-4) into second place in the Big Ten, one game back of Purdue with three to go. Wisconsin will travel to Michigan State on Sunday, a place it hasn’t won since 2004.

Wisconsin snaps a two-game losing streak with a 71-60 win over Maryland

MADISON — No. 11 Wisconsin turned a six-point halftime deficit into a much needed double-digit win on Sunday, snapping a two-game losing streak by beating No. 23 Maryland 71-60 at the Kohl Center.

“I thought guys, especially in the second half, answered the bell, so to speak,” coach Greg Gard said of his team’s effort.

After managing to hit just 28 percent of their shots in the first half, the Badgers saw Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ shoot a combined 9 of 15 after the break on their way to making 51.5 percent from the field in the second half. Add in the fact they turned the ball over just once in the final 20 minutes and limited Maryland to just eight made field goals, and it was clear why they were successful.

“That was more like (who) this team is,” Gard said.

Hayes, two days after saying he needed to be more assertive and step his game up, did just that, scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds — his second double-double in Big Ten play. Nine of his points came at the free throw line, an indication of his aggressiveness.

“We’re not the best outside shooting team, currently,” said Hayes, who was 0 of 2 from 3-point range on a team that made just 2 of their 12 shots from deep. “I tried to do my best to get to the rim, try to draw some fouls.”

Happ scored 20 points and added seven rebounds despite dealing with foul trouble in the second half.

But the biggest lift may have come in the form of Bronson Koenig. Wisconsin prepared like they wouldn’t have the senior guard for a second straight game due to a calf injury, but he ended up coming off the bench and played 31 minutes.

His first make, a 3-pointer, tied the game at 36 with 16:29 left. The next time down the court he hit a jumper to give the Badgers a 38-36 lead. He made two more shots later in the game and finished with nine points, all in the second half.

“It was great for him to get back in the flow of things,” senior Zak Showalter said of Koenig. “He’s had five days off so he was a little bit slow but it was good to see him come in and contribute.”

Koenig wasn’t the only one off the bench to help. Redshirt freshman Brevin Pritzl, who didn’t play a minute in the loss to Michigan on Thursday, gave the Badgers seven points and seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end, which led to six second-chance points for Wisconsin.

Maryland was paced by Melo Trimble’s 27 points, but the junior guard didn’t play in the final 4:32, with coach Mark Turgeon saying he was tired, pointing to five missed free throws during the game.

The win leaves Wisconsin (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) in a tie with Purdue atop the Big Ten with four games to play.

The Badgers next to contests are on the road, with a trip to Ohio State on Thursday and a visit to Michigan State on Sunday.

Notes:

— Former Wisconsin running back James White was honored during the game for his performance in Super Bowl LI. He caught a Super Bowl-record 14 passes and scored three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime to help the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons and win their second title in three years.

— Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson was in attendance, sitting behind the Wisconsin bench. He was recognized during the game as well as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.

— Former Wisconsin forward Duje Dukan, currently playing with the Chicago Bulls’ D-League team, was also at the game.

D’Mitrik Trice to get his first career start in place of an injured Bronson Koenig

Wisconsin will be without their starting point guard when they take on Michigan Thursday night.

The team announced that senior point guard Bronson Koenig will miss the game as he deals with a calf strain that has hampered him since first injuring it against Penn State on Jan. 24.

“The medical staff made a decision (on Wednesday),” coach Greg Gard told UWBadgers.com “We knew it was unlikely he was going to play and then (we) made a final determination (Thursday) morning.”

In Koenig’s place will be true freshman D’Mitrik Trice, who is averaging 5.5 points and 1.6 assists per game.

“He’s ready for this moment,” Gard said. “I’ve said all along he’s wiser and older than his freshman year says in the program. It’s a great opportunity for him.”

Trice said Tuesday he was preparing like he was going to start, and he spent the entire week as the No. 1 point guard with Koenig sitting out.

“(I) just have to go out and do what I need to do to help my team win,” Trice said of his role. “Whether that’s pass the ball, come off screens and find open guys or knock down the 15-footer, hit an open 3 here and there and just direct the offense.”

Koenig had seen his performance drop off significantly since the injury, making just 7 of 31 shots from beyond the arc and shooting under 30 percent from the field overall.

“We know it’s huge loss,” senior Nigel Hayes said this week. “As I’ve always answered when another team loses a key player, other players will step up. That’s just what happens.

“We know what Bronson does. Bronson takes his shots. All that means is there are more shots for someone else, another opportunity for someone to step up.

“Trice has been playing well. Brevin (Pritzl) has been doing well. Gives more opportunities for Jordan (Hill) and those guys to step up and try and make something happen.”

Entering the day, No. 11 Wisconsin (21-4, 10-2) owns a 1/2 game lead in the Big Ten on Purdue and Maryland.

Nigel Hayes a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award

MADISON — Nigel Hayes has proven to be far more than just a basketball player during his time at Wisconsin. The senior has taken a visible role in the Black Lives Matter movement and in pushing for college athletes to be compensated for their contributions to the multi-billion dollar business that is the NCAA.

It was for those reasons, along with his involvement in the Badgers Give Back program and strong academic history, that he was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award on Wednesday.

“I believe it is our responsibility as people to try to better the world around us, but I recognize that the platform I have allows for greater visibility,” Hayes said in a release from the school. “I’m trying to use that influence I have to make a positive change.”

In addition to his role in the community, Hayes is also a 3.0 student and two-time Big Ten Academic honoree as a business finance and investment banking major.

On the floor, Hayes is averaging 13.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists for a Badgers squad that is ranked No. 11 in the country.

CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. Hayes is the fourth Wisconsin player to be named a finalist, with Alando Tucker winning the award in 2007. This year’s winner will be announced at the 2017 Final Four in Phoenix.

The other finalists are:

Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
Evan Bradds, Belmont
Josh Hart, Villanova
Josh Hawkinson, Washington State
Amile Jefferson, Duke
Peter Jok, Iowa
Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga
Tim Kempton, Lehigh
Frank Mason III, Kansas

Badgers fall to Northwestern 66-59 at home, Koenig scores just 2 points

MADISON | The Badger men’s basketball team’s 19-game home winning streak is over. Wisconsin’s shooting woes finally got the best of them as Northwestern invaded the Kohl Center and beat the 7th ranked Badgers 66-59 on Sunday night.

Bronson Koenig scored just two points on 1-8 shooting. Northwestern ended the first half on a 19-3 run to take a 31-22 lead into the locker room. Wisconsin started out the second half on a 10-0 run as Northwestern went 0-8 to start the second. But Wildcat Bryant McIntosh took over scoring 25 points. Northwestern gets its much coveted signature win. The Badgers fall to 21-4, 10-2 in the Big Ten, a game ahead of second place Maryland and Purdue with six games left in the regular season.

Playing without leading scorer Scottie Lindsey, the Wildcats (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) shot 48.3 percent from the floor in the second half, dropped seven 3-pointers and locked down on sophomore Ethan Happ with double teams over the final 30 minutes every time he touched the post.

Wisconsin senior Nigel Hayes scored 13 points to lead the Badgers.

 

The Badgers finished the game one of its last seven, the only make coming on a meaningless D’Mitrik Trice three-pointer at the buzzer

The Badgers will play at Michigan on Thursday night at 6.

Another ugly win as Badgers pull it out in OT over Nebraska

LINCOLN, NE | Once again it wasn’t pretty. But in the end the Wisconsin men’s basketball team pulled out the victory. The #7 Badgers (21-3, 10-1 Big Ten) beat Nebraska in Lincoln 70-69 in overtime on Thursday night.

UW senior Nigel Hayes hit the go-ahead three-point basket with 18.4 seconds to go in the extra period to put the Badgers up by one. The Cornhuskers had a chance to win it, but Ethan Happ blocked Tai Webster’s lay-up attempt. Happ then pulled in the rebound and called timeout with 3 seconds to go. Nigel Hayes, who was fouled on the ensuing possession, missed both free throws but Cornhusker Michael Jacobson turned it over and the Badgers ran out the clock for a hard-fought win in Lincoln.

Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said his team didn’t do much right, but gave them credit for finding a way. “We couldn’t shoot the ball. We couldn’t finish around the rim. We turned it over too much. We couldn’t keep them off the glass,” said Gard. “With the exception of our fortitude we didn’t do much right.”

Regardless of their struggles, it was 17th win in the last 18 games for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team.

Nebraska’s Michael Jacobson forced overtime with his 3 just ahead of the buzzer, tying the game at 58-all.

Nigel Hayes scored 18 of his 20 points after halftime for the Badgers who won their eighth straight..

UW senior Zak Showalter also made 4 of 6 three pointers and finished with 15 points. Bronson Koenig added 12 for Wisconsin.

 

Wisconsin shot just 36.5 percent and were outrebounded 50-37, but they were able to win for the eighth time in 11 games away from Madison and stay 1 1/2 games ahead of Purdue.

Nebraska turned the ball over 22 times and hit just 15 of 24 free throws.

Wisconsin hosts Northwestern at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Kohl Center.

Happ, Wisconsin’s defense push the No. 10 Badgers past Indiana

MADISON | Wisconsin got 20 points from Ethan Happ and held Indiana to its second-lowest point total of the year in a 65-60 win on Sunday at the Kohl Center.

“I’m not going to claim it’s our most intelligent display of basketball at times,” coach Greg Gard said, “but we were able to do enough good things at the right times.”

The Badgers built a 12-point lead in the first half, but a 14-2 run by the Hoosiers tied things up with 2:33 left. Wisconsin scored just five points in the final 8:22 of the period, and led 27-24 at the break.

The Badgers managed to build a 9-point lead in the first 5:20 of the second half, but another scoring drought allowed a banged-up Indiana squad to stay within single digits the rest of the way, getting within two on a Robert Johnson jumper midway through the period.

Wisconsin seemingly put Indiana away thanks to a 3-pointer from Zak Showalter with 1:37 left to make it 58-50, but the Hoosiers weren’t done. They got a pair of free throws from Josh Newkirk with 28 seconds left to get within three points, before the Badgers hit 5 of 6 free throws to close the game out, earning their 19th straight win at the Kohl Center.

It was another struggle on the offensive end for Wisconsin, who shot 40 percent from the field and just 4 of 17 from beyond the arc. The lone consistent option was Happ, who made 8 of his 10 shots, including a late steal and dunk that gave him his fourth 20-plus point game of the year.

“I don’t think it’s anything we can do except keep shooting,” Happ said of the struggles. “We’ve got shooters and sometimes they just slump a little bit.

“We’ll eventually start making them.”

The Badgers overcame those struggles because of their work on the other end. For the fourth straight game, Wisconsin held its opponent under 1.0 points per possession, a metric the program has lived by since former coach Bo Ryan took over in 2001, with anything under 1.0 being acceptable. Indiana came in a .938.

“Thank goodness there’s two sides of basketball, and we’re able to make up some things on defense,” Nigel Hayes said. “This is a high scoring Indiana team, so to hold them to 60 points is a really good deal for us. It’s the only reason why we won.”

Hayes finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, with nearly half his points coming at the free throw line. A problem area for the Badgers much of the season, Hayes was 7 of 8 and the team went 23 of 31 from the line.

The win was the seventh in a row for the Badgers, who are now 20-3 on the year and 9-1 in the Big Ten. With the win, and Maryland’s loss on Saturday, Wisconsin now leads the conference by one game on the Terrapins and two games on Purdue.

The Badgers travel to Nebraska this Thursday.