No. Three Michigan Wolverines Rally wins first sport since three-week COVID-19 layoff

MADISON, Wisconsin – Michigan took only about 20 minutes to shake off the rust after a three week layoff.

Isaiah Livers scored 20 points, Hunter Dickinson had 11 points and 15 rebounds, and the third-placed Wolverines bounced back from a 14-point deficit to beat Wisconsin 67-59 No. 21 on Sunday.

The Wolverines (14-1, 9-1 Big Ten) hadn’t played since a 70-53 win at Purdue on January 22nd. Michigan announced the next day that all athletic activities were halted after several people connected to the sports department tested positive for a variant of COVID-19 that transmits at a higher rate.

“I was outside, I did skipping rope, I did everything to stay in shape,” Livers said. “Many others were too. We all had a program. We all stayed true to it, and of course [you saw] the result. We’re getting back to our rhythm, back to that Michigan basketball rhythm. “

It was obvious on the track.

After leaving most of the way, Michigan scored the final eight points of the game. Wisconsin (15-7, 9-6) only collected six points and one basket over the final by 7:45.

“I think we can play any kind of style – a fast game, a slow game, a grind-it-out game, whatever,” said Dickinson, who was also five blocks. “With our depth, we have the ability to do so much and win in so many different ways.”

Dickinson made numerous great games with the game on the line.

Michigan followed 57-56 when Dickinson got the offensive rebound from a missed 3-pointer from Eli Brooks and found Livers, who pocketed a 3-pointer 2:48. D’Mitrik Trice ended the game with two free throws, but Michigan finally prevailed 1:46 against Dickinson.

“I think the offensive rebound was the pullback today,” said Wisconsin’s manager Greg Gard. “You can’t give up those kinds of offensive rebounds at crucial times.”

Trice scored 16 points, Aleem Ford had 15 and Jonathan Davis had 11 for Wisconsin. Michigan’s Franz Wagner had 10 of his 14 points in the second half.

Wisconsin led in the first half at 14 and led into the locker room at 39:27.

Wisconsin shot a total of 53.8% and went in the first half from the 3-point range 5-7 against a team from Michigan, who held opponents with 37.4% shooting. This was the third best in Division I. Ford led the first 8½ minutes with 11 points.

But the Badgers shot 7 of 28 in the second half and missed their last 11 3-point attempts.

“What we did in the first half, we wanted to do in the second half,” said Ford. “But that’s exactly what they did to us. They put us on our heels, made us a little uncomfortable on the offensive, and they got away feel comfortable on the offensive yourself. “

Wisconsin led 42-32 early in the second half when Brad Davison drove to the hoop and his elbow hit Michigan’s Mike Smith in the face. Michigan coach Juwan Howard showed his displeasure and wanted an obvious foul for the game – but the only call the Wolverines received was a technical foul on their bench.

Trice made either of the following two free throws, but the incident sparked Michigan. Smith responded with a three-point game as Michigan began its comeback.

“We’re all family members,” said Howard. “It just shows you. The family has been tested and everyone has teamed up like brothers for their family.”

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: The Wolverines showed their toughness by recovering from a slow start and dominating the final minutes of the game. Michigan beat Wisconsin 77-54 on Jan. 12, becoming the first team to win a regular season series from the Badgers since 2017/18, when Michigan State and Nebraska both did. The Badgers had won their last eight rematch games with teams they had defeated earlier in the same season.

Wisconsin: The Badgers needed more of their first five, who together scored 10 points and shot 2 of 16 in the second half. They also haven’t got enough of their tall men. Neither 6-foot-11 striker Nate Reuvers nor 6-10 striker Micah Potter had a single rebound.

EFFECT ON REQUEST

Michigan expects to stay in 3rd place when the AP Top 25 comes out on Monday. Wisconsin could drop a few spots.

NEXT

Michigan welcomes Rutgers # 25 on Thursday.

Wisconsin welcomes Iowa Thursday No. 15.

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