If I were to tell you Wisconsin would beat the Michigan Wolverines despite not making a field goal the final 10:45 of the game, you would tell me I was crazy right? Well, that’s what happened tonight. However, Wisconsin was able to make clutch free throws and escaped with an important 64-59 win tonight. Freshman Connor Essegian was great again tonight with a career high 23 points and 9-10 at the free throw line. It was a game the Badgers needed as they finished 14-18 from the free throw line. Here are three takeaways from tonight’s game.
Wisconsin Stayed In This Game Because Of Offensive Rebounds
After Wisconsin took a 27-20 lead late in the first half, the Badgers were one for their last nine to end the half. This allowed Michigan to go on a 12-4 run to take a 32-31 lead at halftime. As mentioned earlier, Wisconsin also went the final 10:45 without making a shot. How did the Badgers stay in this game?
Wisconsin was awesome on the offensive glass tonight. They had 15 on the night. Even though they only shot 33% from the field, the Badgers got a ton of second chances because they won the 50/50 plays. This was normally something this team has struggled with all season. Give credit to players such as Tyler Wahl, Steven Crowl, Jordan Davis, and Kamari McGee for keeping possessions alive.
Hunter Dickinson Was Not Able To Back His Antics Up
By now, you probably know Michigan center Hunter Dickinson called Wisconsin “scumbags” on the Roundball Podcast in January. He knew he would be met with boos and heckling from the Wisconsin students. Tonight, he showed up to the Kohl Center in a ski mask and was constantly taunting the Badger student section.
Hunter Dickinson wore a ski mask to the Kohl Center because he said Michigan was going to steal a win vs. Wisconsin.
📷: ESPN pic.twitter.com/Klle9FYsWy
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) February 15, 2023
If you’re going to do that with the fans, you need to back your performance up. Dickinson only scored 12 points tonight and was 0-3 shooting in the second half. His only points came at the free throw line.
If I’m Juwan Howard, the coaching staff, and Dickinson’s teammates, I’m not happy with him. This is suppose to be the leader of your team. There is a ton of young players on this roster that look up to him. It’s not a good look for your best player to be constantly distracted with taunting the opposing fans and not being able to back it up on the court. He’ll now have to eat a ton of crow for his antics.
Kamari McGee Provided A Spark And Great Minutes
Sophomore guard Kamari McGee was not getting a ton of minutes over the last few months. At times, Greg Gard was choosing Isaac Lindsey for backup point guard minutes instead. McGee didn’t look comfortable and his role became a question mark.
Chucky Hepburn struggled again tonight shooting only 1-9 from the field. McGee provided six points, multiple offensive rebounds, and 14 good minutes off the bench. Hepburn only had 26 minutes. It gave Wisconsin a spark they needed and a backup point guard they have needed all season. This could take some off the lead off Hepburn. Look for McGee to get minute moving forward.
It won’t get any easier as Wisconsin welcomes Rutgers to the Kohl Center Saturday. The Scarlet Knights are a great defensive team, but did give up 82 points to Nebraska at home tonight. They will look to rebound. Tip time is 11 AM CST on BTN.
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