No. 14 Michigan State ends No. 8 Wisconsin’s 7-game streak
Malik Hall scored 14 points and No. 14 Michigan State beat No. 8 Wisconsin 86-74 on Friday night to end the Badgers’ seven-game winning streak.
Max Christie, Tyson Walker and AJ Hoggard scored 12 points apiece for the Spartans (15-3, 6-1 Big Ten), who shot 53% (29 of 55) from the field.
Michigan State had six days to simmer its previous game, a 64-62 home loss to Northwestern last Saturday.
“I’m glad we won and played better,” coach Tom Izzo said. “It’s been hell the last three days. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
Michigan State moved into first place in the conference, ahead of Wisconsin (15-3, 6-2) and Illinois.
Johnny Davis scored 25 points and Brad Davison added 22 for Wisconsin, which struggled to score in the first half, trailed by double digits and couldn’t catch up.
“We made Davis work for everything, and he’s just a great player,” Izzo said.
The Badgers were without Tyler Wahl, who averaged 15.3 points over the previous seven games, with a right ankle injury. Ben Carlson started in place of Wahl and finished with six points in 23 minutes. Coach Greg Gard said Wahl’s absence was a big factor.
“He’s important for us but we need to have other guys stepping in, especially in defence,” Gard said. “It took us too long to adapt to the Spartans transition (game). He is an important part of who we are at both ends of the field.
The Spartans led 42-26 at halftime after limiting the Badgers to 9 on 32 shots. Wisconsin surpassed its worst-performing half of the season by just three points.
Davison scored 10 straight points in the second half, including a 3-pointer with 14:04 left that cut Michigan State’s lead to 52-41, but the Spartans had an answer almost every time.
Steven Crowl scored five points on a 7-0 run to draw the Badgers up six points at 58-52 with 10:03 left in the game. But Wisconsin didn’t come close.
The Spartans shot 6 for 12 3-pointers, including two 3s each from Christie and Akins.
Michigan State edged Wisconsin 39-20, led by 11-board Joey Hauser. Hall had eight rebounds.
“If you look at our team, everyone scored (and) everyone did something,” Izzo said. “It wasn’t smooth but we shot well, we looked after the ball well, but the big key was the rebound.”
Michigan State: The Spartans’ bench players have been a good complement to the team’s starters, with Hall, Hoggard and Jaden Akins (10 points) all scoring in double figures. Michigan State Reserves finished with 43 points.
“My mindset was to bring energy and create a spark – just keep our guys going,” Hoggard said. “Just coming in and bringing energy was key for me.”
Wisconsin: Gard rotated a handful of players in the lineup to try to make up for Wahl’s absence, but the Badgers couldn’t maintain a rhythm on offense.
Michigan State: At No. 17 Illinois on Jan. 25.
Wisconsin: At Nebraska on Jan. 25.
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