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Kaminsky’s double-double helps Wisconsin advance

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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CHICAGO — Frank Kaminsky didn’t let any rough patches distract him in Wisconsin’s Big Ten Tournament opener on Friday — especially in front of a lot of the home folks.

The 7-foot senior forward collected 16 points and 12 rebounds — his 11th double-double of the season — as sixth-ranked Wisconsin beat Michigan 71-60 in a Big Ten quarterfinal at the United Center.

Kaminsky, a native of Chicago’s western suburbs, was briefly benched after a missed 3-point shot and some trouble handling the ball.

“It was obviously a frustrating stretch,” he said. “I just had to recuperate mentally and go back out on the court and bring some energy.”

Forward Sam Dekker scored 17 points and hit a key 3-pointer with 3:42 left in regulation to open a 61-56 advantage as the Badgers (29-3) pulled away down the stretch.

Wisconsin guard Bronson Koenig finished with 12 points and forward Nigel Hayes added 11 for the top seed.

The Badgers, also the Big Ten regular-season champion, meet Purdue in Saturday’s semifinals. The fourth-seeded Boilermakers beat Penn State 64-59.

Guard Zak Irvin topped Michigan (16-16) with a game-high 21 points and had 11 rebounds. Reserve forward Ricky Doyle scored 12 points and guard Spike Albrecht added 11 points.

Michigan was top seed at last year’s tournament in Indianapolis and reached the title game before falling 69-55 to No. 3 Michigan State.

“You see how talented Wisconsin is, they’ve got a great game plan,” Wolverines coach John Beilein said. “But their size, their age, their strength is just a huge part in their game. … They’re just longer and stronger and more experienced than us in some of those situations.

“I’m proud of our kids. They played their tails off and lost today to a better team.”

After a brief early lead, Wisconsin fell behind and trailed by as many as nine points after Albrecht’s 3-pointer opened a 22-13 Michigan lead.

The Badgers chipped away, then used a 10-0 run to close the half with a Kaminsky layup, a baseline drive, dunk from Hayes and back-to-back 3-pointers by Koenig in a 50-second span for a 31-26 halftime lead.

“We were kind of lacking energy in the first half,” Dekker said. “They were playing harder than us, so guys made some plays for us, stepped up, brought the energy level of us up and some opportunities to attack and got some buckets going.”

Wisconsin quickly pushed the lead to 33-26 on Dekker’s layup to open the second half and added another for a 41-26 Badgers lead with 15:18 showing.

Michigan replied with an 8-0 run, including guard Aubrey Dawkins’ go-ahead dunk with 12:52 left and guard Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman’s layup for a 44-41 edge.

Another surge gave the Badgers a 52-46 lead, capped by a guard Josh Gasser’s 3-pointer with under 10 minutes to play.

Wisconsin couldn’t shake Michigan until Kaminsky started a late surge with consecutive buckets that broke a 54-54 tie and opened a 58-54 lead. That set the stage for Dekker’s 3-pointer that extended the Badgers’ lead to 61-56.

“I think we executed our offense extremely well today and made shots when we need to,” Albrecht said. “We just didn’t get the stops.”

NOTES: Wisconsin’s 29-3 record is the best start in program history and the Badgers’ 16-2 Big Ten mark was also tops. … Wisconsin’s 28 regular-season wins made them only the third Big Ten team with 28 or more. Ohio State (2010-11) also had 28 and Illinois (2004-05) leads with 29. … National player of the year candidate F Frank Kaminsky was averaging 22 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and was shooting 61 percent in his last seven games. … Wisconsin committed a season-low three personal fouls against Michigan. … The Wolverines advanced with Thursday’s 73-55 victory over Illinois, avenging a 64-52 overtime road loss on Feb. 12. … Michigan freshman G Aubrey Dawkins entered Friday with a 23.3-point average in his last three games, including 18 points on Thursday against the Illini. … Injuries and illnesses forced Michigan to use nine different lineups this season. Sophomore G Zak Irvin and reserve G/F Kameron Chatman were the only Wolverines to appear in all 32 games. … Michigan fell 69-64 in overtime to Wisconsin in the team’s lone meeting

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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