BY MIKE LUCAS
UWBadgers.com Senior Writer
MADISON, Wis. — Mike Lucas had a front-row seat for Wisconsin's 64-58 loss to Michigan on the road. Here is what he saw from courtside.
BAPTISM UNDER FIRE
Minutes after the UW's 64-58 defeat at Michigan, D'Mitrik Trice was asked what he would take away from his first collegiate start and the freshman guard didn't hesitate to say, "We lost. That's the first thing that comes to mind. Obviously, I wish we could have come out of here with the W, especially it being a special day for me and my family. But at the end of the day we came out with a loss."
Trice was elevated to the starting lineup against the Wolverines because of a leg injury to senior Bronson Koenig, who had started 84 consecutive games at point guard, dating to January of 2015, when Koenig, then a sophomore, came off the bench to replace injured senior Traevon Jackson. Koenig has not practiced since last Sunday's loss to Northwestern in which he was limited to two points (1-of-8).
"I thought he started off really strong," UW senior guard Zak Showalter said of Trice, who had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and only 2 turnovers. "And I thought towards the end of playing 35 minutes, full point guard minutes, it was tough for him. But this will be a good game, experience-wise, to build upon. I saw flashes from him on the road in a hostile environment."
Predictably, Trice was unhappy with his shooting: 2-of-15 from the field (1-of-6 from the arc). On the offensive end, he didn't have the easiest matchup in Michigan's senior Derrick Walton who has started 114 of 115 games. "I tried to stay aggressive," said Trice, an Ohio native, who had family and friends in attendance at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. "But my shots were just not falling."
UW coach Greg Gard was encouraged by what he got from Trice, the younger brother of former Michigan State guard Travis Trice who used to bedevil the Wolverines. "I thought he handled it well," said Gard. "Obviously, he didn't shoot it well; he put himself in some tough positions. But for a freshman to come in here and have four assists and only two turnovers, I thought he was very composed."
A NOTE WORTH QUOTING
Sophomore "point big" Ethan Happ had a hand in 27 of Wisconsin's 31 points at halftime. He had 18 points (8-of-9 FGs) and four assists. The only four points that he didn't influence belonged to Nigel Hayes, who had an unassisted basket and Khalil Iverson who scored on an assist from Trice. Michigan coach John Beilein is not known for doubling the post. But after Happ carved up his defense, Beilein resorted to some different tactics in the second half and it paid off. The Wolverines often attacked Happ with a second defender and held him to four points (2-of-4 FGs).