Playing once again without injured big man Jon Leuer, the 16th ranked Wisconsin Badgers held serve on their home court and rolled to a 67-49 win over the Michigan State Spartans at the Kohl Center in Madison on Tuesday night. The loss for the Spartans (19-4, 9-1) was their first in the Big Ten Conference this season.
The Badgers played as well as they have all season, even without Leuer, shooting 51% from the field and putting four players in double figures. Jason Bohannon led the way with 19 points and Jordan Taylor (pictured) added 17, including 10 of the Badgers first 13.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo hates losing to Bo Ryan, but he’s getting used to it, falling to 0-7 at the Kohl Center under Ryan. Izzo’s overall record against in Madison is 5-12.
Wisconsin big man Keaton Nankivil had 11 points and five rebounds and his ability to knock down three-pointers has given the Badgers more room to roam under the basket. Opposing defenders have to come out and guard Nankivil, which spreads the court more.
The Badgers (17-5, 7-3) moved back into sole possession of second place, ahead of Purdue, Ohio State and Illinois. They also pulled to within two-games of the Spartans for the Big Ten lead.
The Spartans lost guard Kalin Lucas, who is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year to a right-ankle sprain midway through the second half. Lucas is the teams leading scorer, averaging 16.0 points a game. His status won’t be determined until the Spartans return to East Lansing.
The win does a couple of things. It puts the Big Ten and the rest of the college basketball world on notice that the Badgers are for real and they’ll be ready for a potential deep run into the post-season. It also means that Bo Ryan is still in Tom Izzo’s head and will stay there for at least another year.