Butch, Wisconsin use second-half push vs. Michigan St.Feb 29, 2008 - 7:01 AM MADISON, Wisconsin (Ticker) -- A gruesome injury robbed Brian Butch of his chance at a Big Ten regular-season title last season. So far, he is making the most of a second chance.
Butch scored 16 points, including two big 3-pointers in the second half, as ninth-ranked Wisconsin captured its fifth straight victory with a 57-42 victory over No. 15 Michigan State on Thursday.
Trevon Hughes added 13 points for the Badgers (24-4, 14-2 Big Ten), who committed a school-record one turnover in improving to 53-3 in conference home games at the Kohl Center under coach Bo Ryan.
It was Wisconsin's lowest turnover total since having two in a 62-58 loss to Penn State on March 3, 1993.
"That's too many," Ryan joked. "We got on Joe (Krabbenhoft) in the locker room, his teammates did. He got an offensive rebound and put the ball down and it disappeared. How many times do you see a game with a team with one turnover against a team that plays pretty good defense and will get in your shorts. I don't know what else you can say."
"To be honest, we were playing inside-out so we didn't put any real pressure on them on the perimeter on purpose," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "We felt we had to take away the block because they go to the free-throw line so much. That was one thing we wanted to do, keep them off the line, and for the most part we did that. The one turnover doesn't bother me."
Last season, Wisconsin was poised for a league title when it dropped a costly loss at eventual winner Ohio State on February 25. In that contest, Butch suffered a dislocated elbow, prematurely ending his season.
Free of the injury bug this season, Butch connected on a career-high four 3-pointers as the Badgers moved one-half game ahead of Indiana and Purdue - both 13-2 - with two games remaining.
Those two games could be the key to Wisconsin's title run, as they are against sub-.500 teams Penn State and Northwestern.
Not looking past Michigan State toward that favorable stretch, the Badgers took a 28-22 lead at the intermission after closing the half with a 17-6 run over the final 11 minutes.
In the second half, the Spartans (22-6, 10-5) were within 34-30 following a jumper by Drew Naymick with 11:12 remaining when the Badgers responded with another big run. Wisconsin used a 19-6 burst to make it 53-36 with 3:18 to play.
Butch had eight points during that stretch, including his final two baskets from the arc.
The senior forward-center hit his first with 6:03 remaining, making it 45-34, and added the second less than two minutes later to extended the cushion to 14 points.
"If Brian doesn't hit those two threes, that's probably still a three- or four-possession game," Ryan said. "But when Brian did hit those, it opened it up and obviously you have to maybe get a little quicker on the other end offensively and maybe there are some shots going out that were somewhat rushed, I don't know."
"We had a couple of missed assignments when Butch hit some of those threes," Izzo said. "I was disappointed because we had gone over that."
Overall, Butch went 4-of-6 on 3-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds.
Michael Flowers scored nine points and Marcus Landry added eight for Wisconsin, which finished 8-of-16 on 3-pointers.
Goran Suton had 14 points and 15 rebounds for Michigan State, which continued to stumble down the stretch, losing for the fourth time in seven games.
Raymar Morgan and Drew Neitzel, the Spartans' two leading scorers, were held to just 10 points on 4-of-17 shooting.
Neitzel went 1-of-10 en route to a season-low three points.
"There were some good shots for him at the top of the key and a couple that he should have just pulled up on," Izzo said of Neitzel. "I feel for the kid on that. That's not him. If you look at everything else in our game plan, we did a pretty good job, but our two best scorers couldn't score. That makes a big difference."
Overall, Michigan State shot just 34.5 percent (19-of-55) en route to failing to score at least 50 points for the first time in 12 games.
"I really liked our (defensive) effort," Ryan said. "I think they had some looks that I'm sure when I look at the tape, I'll remind some guys about maybe missing on a chase or a hedge opportunity or whatever. It seemed to me that they had some looks that weren't going down and we weren't going to ask why when you're playing.
"We know how well Neitzel can shoot the ball and what they have and I think sometimes you just have these types of games."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
MICHIGAN ST (15) 22 20 42
WISCONSIN (9) 28 29 57 FINAL
Feb 28 10:55 PM
- NCAA BB
(15) MICHIGAN ST 22
(9) WISCONSIN 28 HALFTIME
Feb 28 9:47 PM
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