The 22nd-ranked Michigan Wolverines entered Thursday nights home game against Wisconsin as the hottest team in the Big Ten Conference, having won five straight. The Badgers were next, riding a four-game winning streak.
When the dust settled, the Badgers (18-10, 11-6 Big Ten) extended their win streak to five and moving into a four-way tie for second p lace in the Big Ten by pulling out a 81-74 win over the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.
The Badgers never trailed in the game and converted nearly 54% (29-of-54) from the field in the win. They hit 11-of-23 three point attempts (47.8%).
Going in, the game was being billed as a battle between point guards. D’Mitrik Trice for the Badgers and Zavier Simpson for Michigan. Neither player disappointed. Simpson finished with 32 points, five rebounds and six assists. Trice had 28 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Aleem Ford and Micah Potter added 18 points each for the Badgers, who return to Madison to host Minnesota (13-14, 7-10) on Sunday evening.
The Badgers hit 5-of-9 three’s in the first half, building a 10-point halftime lead.
It was a rough game for Badgers big man Nate Reuvers. He leads Wisconsin in scoring with 13.7 points a game, but scored just two points in the win over the Wolverines. But that basket was a big one, coming with 1:27 left to play, giving the Badgers a 6-point lead at 75-69. Reuvers, who was in foul trouble most of the night, also made some key defensive plays in the final two minutes.
It was the fifth road win of the season for the Badgers. Four of the five have come in the Big Ten. It’s also the 8th Quadrant 1 win of the season for the Badgers. Entering Thursday, only four teams had more than eight Quad 1 victories (Kansas 11, Baylor 10, Seton Hall 10, Creighton 9).
Greg Gard also improved his overall record to 98-57 (.632), including a mark of 56-35 (.615) in Big Ten play.
The Badgers tallied their first win in Ann Arbor since 2015, snapping a streak of 2 straight losses. The Badgers have won 7 of their last 10 visits to Crisler Arena, dating back to 2008.
Wisconsin has three games left in the regular season, the next two of which come at home. The Badgers will host the rival Minnesota Gophers on Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Kohl Center.