Freshman Connor Essegian scored a career-high 23 points, and Wisconsin held off Michigan 64-59 in Madison, Wis., on Tuesday night despite going without a field goal over the final 10:44.
Michigan shaved a 12-point deficit to within 55-54 as Wisconsin went scoreless for more than five minutes. Essegian hit two free throws to make it 57-54.
Michigan missed three of four free throws, then Essegian hit another pair to put Wisconsin up 59-55 with 44 seconds left. Jett Howard scored on a drive for the Wolverines, but Max Klesmit answered with two more free throws.
Wisconsin’s Chucky Hepburn came up with a steal on the ensuing possession and Essegian hit one of two free throws to make it 62-57 with 12.7 seconds remaining.
Essegian hit 6 of 12 shots, including 2 of 7 beyond the arc, and 9 of 10 from the line. Steven Crowl added 11 points and 12 rebounds for Wisconsin (15-10, 7-8 Big Ten), which blew a 17-point second-half lead in its last game, a 73-63 overtime loss at Nebraska.
Kobe Bufkin had 21 points and Hunter Dickinson chipped in 12 points and 12 boards for Michigan (14-12, 8-7). Essegian scored on back-to-back drives and then hit two free throws after the Michigan bench was assessed a technical foul to put Wisconsin up 54-42 with 10:27 remaining.
Kamari McGee scored on a drive to cap a 9-2 run that put the Badgers in front 48-40 as the Wolverines committed five turnovers in just under three minutes.
Michigan hit its final five shots of the first half, taking a 32-31 lead at the break on Bufkin’s 3-pointer with five seconds to go.
The Wolverines closed the half with a 12-4 run as Wisconsin missed eight of its final nine shots. Wisconsin failed to capitalize on seven offensive rebounds in the first half, generating just two second-chance points.
Essegian and Klesmit hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Wisconsin its biggest lead of the half at 27-20 as Michigan went scoreless for almost 4 1/2 minutes. –Field Level Media