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Wisconsin Badgers Roll Past Michigan For 68-64 Home Win Wisconsin Badgers Beat Michigan Wolverines 68-64 at Home - MADISON, WI - JANUARY 17: Derrick Walton Jr. #10 of the Michigan Wolverines drives to the basket against Ethan Happ #22 of the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half of a game at the Kohl Center on January 17, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Full view

MADISON, WI - JANUARY 17: Derrick Walton Jr. #10 of the Michigan Wolverines drives to the basket against Ethan Happ #22 of the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half of a game at the Kohl Center on January 17, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers Roll Past Michigan For 68-64 Home Win

Thus far this season, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team had only had blowout victories at home.

Wisconsin Badgers Roll Past Michigan For 68-64 Home Win

On Tuesday night, however, that changed, as the No. 17 Badgers were on the verge of being upset before senior point guard Bronson Koenig provided the salvation in the second half.

Koenig scored 13 of his 16 points after halftime to help Wisconsin erase an eight-point deficit and secure a 68-64 win over the Michigan Wolverines at the Kohl Center in a matchup of Big Ten teams.

The Badgers (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) struggled offensively for the first 28 minutes of the game, and also made a few defensive blunders. Nevertheless, they managed to correct their mistakes in order to avoid a loss in their hunt for a second conference title in three seasons.

“There are going to be nights like this, like I told our guys, where you’ve just got to dig in and continue to scrap and fight and find a way,” UW coach Greg Gard said after his team moved into a tie with Maryland atop the Big Ten standings. “But I was proud of our guys for how they responded and didn’t back down when things maybe weren’t going well.”

Senior forwards Vitto Brown and Nigel Hayes contributed 13 points each as Wisconsin improved to 11-0 at home this season.

However, this marked the first time this campaign that a Badgers’ home victory was not certain until the very end.

UW’s average margin of victory through its first 10 home games was 27.6 points, with the closest game being a 14-point win over UW-Green Bay.

Senior Zak Irvin, meanwhile, led Michigan (12-7, 2-4), with a game-high 20 points, and Derrick Walton Jr. added added 15.

The win marked the Badgers’ 17th victory over the Wolverines in the last 19 meetings between the teams.

“Up six with (8 minutes) to go, I’ve seen that movie before,” Wolverines coach John Beilein said after falling to 2-16 against the Badgers since taking over the Michigan program in 2007. “They just did a great job down the stretch. We did not make some shots, they made some shots, and that’s the story.”

Michigan entered Tuesday’s game leading the nation in fewest fouls committed per contest.

The Badgers only shot 14-of-24 from the free throw line. Irvin scored eight points during a 17-2 run that helped the Wolverines turn a seven-point deficit into a 38-30 lead with 12:39 remaining.

Wisconsin chipped away at Michigan’s lead and tied it up at 43 on a three-point play by sophomore forward Ethan Happ (11 points).

The Wolverines answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by junior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and junior swingman Duncan Robinson, giving Michigan a 49-43 lead.

However, UW countered with a huge 15-0 run that included 10 straight points from Koenig.

The Badgers next visit the Minnesota Golden Gophers (15-4) on Saturday, while the Wolverines will host Illinois (12-7) that same day.

MADISON, WI – JANUARY 17: Derrick Walton Jr. #10 of the Michigan Wolverines drives to the basket against Ethan Happ #22 of the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half of a game at the Kohl Center on January 17, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Written by Pablo Mena
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