Badgers Top Spartans
It was the fifth straight victory for Wisconsin (24-4, 14-2 Big Ten). Michigan State (22-6, 10-5) has lost three of its last five, including three straight road games.
The big man's big shots came at just the right time for the Badgers. Butch's 3-pointer from the left wing put Wisconsin ahead 45-34 with just under six minutes left, and Butch hit another long-range shot at the 4:15 mark to extend the Badgers' lead to 14, capping an 11-2 run.
Butch finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. The Badgers' defense did the rest.
Wisconsin frustrated Michigan State's Drew Neitzel all night, holding him to a single 3-pointer on 1-for-10 shooting. Goran Suton scored 14 and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Michigan State.
Michigan State came in as one of the nation's best-shooting teams, but ran into one of the country's stingiest defensive teams in Wisconsin. It was Michigan State's second-lowest point total of the season, topping only the Spartans' 36-point outing in a loss at Iowa Jan. 12.
The Badgers' defense swarmed Neitzel, holding the Spartans' No. 2 scorer scoreless until he hit a 3-pointer with 9:51 left, cutting the Badgers' lead to 37-33.
Neitzel, coming off a 4-for-15 outing in the Spartans' Jan. 23 victory over Iowa, began Thursday's game 0-for-6, missing all five of his shots in the first half.
Wisconsin also cranked down its defense on Suton after letting him run free in the first half. Suton scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first half - including 10 points and six rebounds in first nine minutes of the game, despite being benched and briefly scolded by Spartans coach Tom Izzo after an early foul.
The Badgers held Suton to two points in the second half.
Butch and Marcus Landry scored eight first-half points each for the Badgers, who led 28-22 at halftime. Butch shot 2-for-3 from 3-point range in the first half.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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