| The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan has passed every Big Ten test that’s been thrown its way.
Road game at Maryland? Check. Top-20 matchups against Northwestern and Minnesota? Check.
A top-10 showdown against No. 9 Wisconsin? The Wolverines checked that off the list Tuesday night at Crisler Center with a 77-54 decimation to stay atop the Big Ten standings and record their third consecutive win against a ranked opponent.
And once again, the No. 7 Wolverines (11-0, 6-0 Big Ten) did it in forceful fashion, using a 43-6 run over both halves and a stifling defensive effort to send another statement.
After closing the half on a 14-0 run, Michigan completely blitzed Wisconsin out the break with a string of 22 consecutive points that featured five different scorers. Freshman center Hunter Dickinson had three baskets after a quiet first half. Senior guard Eli Brooks and grad transfer guard Mike Smith each drained a 3-pointer. Senior guard Chaundee Brown provided the exclamation point with an emphatic putback dunk.
By the time Wisconsin guard D’Mitrik Trice snapped the run and a seven-minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer, Michigan’s lead ballooned to 62-29 with 12:16 to play and the rout was well underway.
From there, the Wolverines coasted to their first 20-point win over the Badgers since the 1992-93 season.
Smith had 16 points and six assists and sophomore wing Franz Wagner recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while senior forward Isaiah Livers scored 13 and Dickinson finished with 12 points. The Wolverines recorded nine blocks, six steals and shot 50% from the field (51.6%) for the fifth straight game.
Trice scored 20 and Micah Potter 12 for Wisconsin (10-3, 4-2). By the time the dust settled from Tuesday’s demolition, the Badgers committed 10 turnovers and were held to season lows in points scored (54) and shooting (30.8%).
Livers came ready to play and was locked in from the start, scoring seven points in the early stages to get the offense going. Meanwhile, while the defense picked up from where it left off last week. Over the first six minutes of the game, the Wolverines recorded two steals and had more blocks (four) than Wisconsin had made field goals (three) as they built a 13-8 lead.
Wisconsin relied on Trice and Potter, who were able to cause some problems, to momentarily pull even before Potter picked up his second foul and the Wolverines’ relentless defense continued to suffocate the Badgers.
Michigan dominated the final nine minutes of the half to turn a two-point edge into a 17-point cushion. The Wolverines used a string of stops and 14 unanswered points to widen the gap despite Dickinson scoring just one basket, which started the spurt.
Livers followed with a 3-pointer. Smith and Wagner turned a pair of steals into fast-break layups. Wagner threw down a baseline dunk. Smith splashed a deep ball from atop the key.
By the time halftime arrived, Michigan’s lead was 40-23 as Wisconsin was held scoreless over the final 6:19 and missed its last eight shot attempts. The Badgers couldn’t even get a shot off on their final possession against the swarming Wolverines.
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