Michigan had done its part to claw back Thursday night, Zavier Simpson knifing through pick-and-rolls and getting to the rim at will. His latest bucket cut Wisconsin’s lead to 61-55. There was more than eight minutes left to play. Crisler Center found momentary life.
The next possession, Badgers’ guard D’Mitrik Trice took a ball-screen, waited for the defender to go under, and stepped into a 3-point jumper. The ball found bottom, and the crowd voiced that sound — a vibrant combination of dejection and befuddlement — that every opposing player yearns for.
It was, in some ways, a distillation of the game at large; Michigan trying to trading hard-earned two-pointers for easy Wisconsin threes, the Wolverines’ sluggish defense rendering that math equation unsolvable. That dynamic was evident from the jump. The Badgers made their first four 3-pointers and scored 16 points in the game’s first five minutes, riding an early lead to an 81-74 win.
“Yeah we’ve got to come out there and fight from the beginning,” said sophomore guard David DeJulius. “We felt like we played soft on our home court.”