Asphyxiation, breaking the will … this is what the Michigan defense had become in its second year under Joan Howard, and Wisconsin was on the receiving end of a 77-54 defeat that was nowhere near the final result.
That alone means that is a thing considering the Badgers team is ranked ninth in the nation. Michigan used a 36-3 jogging to knock Wisconsin out of the gym and topped up to 40 points, the last one at 69-29, before taking a foot off the pedal.
What looked like it would be a great game, 26-23 with six minutes remaining in the first half, turned into laughter. UM scored the last 14 points of the half, and after Aleem Ford played three points to start the second half, he grabbed 22 straight points to put him away.
“They came out with a lot of energy and a lot of fighting.” Goalkeeper Demetrik Trace said, “They came out aggressively and kinda pushed us back on our heels. “We never responded in the right way and the way we wanted.”
Michigan height was an issue for Badger overnight. Head coach Greggard was not happy that his players failed to jump on two legs as you know, even though each shot was a contender in both cases. And he didn’t like how his team settled on jump shots when the game started slipping away.
The Wolverines never yielded, and the Wisconsin five-man starting line-up that doesn’t usually get in the way of chaos for 20 minutes or so before finally rallying.
“They hit the ball really well,” said Trace. “They go in passing lanes, and steal; they make you feel a little uncomfortable, and I think they did a great job of doing that throughout the whole match.”
Trice scored 20 points, but Wisconsin fired only 30.8% of the field. Match statistic – Goalkeeper Brad Davison went down to -34 in just 25 minutes of play, scoring just two points.
“I’ve seen them do it to teams over and over,” Gard said. You try not to put yourself in those situations, but also how do you respond to them? And this disappointing thing is how we responded to it … not only at the end of the first half, but also at the beginning of the second half.
They weren’t aggressive enough, he said, indicating that they only made six mistakes. Michigan took the fight to his team and never backed down.
“When you get that far, it’s just about backing down and winning every four minutes,” said Trace. “I think the players who were there, especially towards the end of the game, put some fighting there and put some heart in it. But obviously, we have to do it for 40 minutes or it might drop 40 minutes.”
“They managed to put us in our wake. We responded better once the match got out of control, I thought we were back to being a little more than ourselves, but this dash towards the middle and the end of the first half and then in the second half, I didn’t like our reaction in terms of their aggression.” They put us in our wake, and we were not able to respond how we needed to respond to it. “
As a result, the Wolverines remained undefeated and cemented their place at the top of the Big Ten Rankings.