featured_button_text By NOAH TRISTER AP Sports Author

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)– Juwan Howard viewed his group turn another highly expected match into a blowout.

Initially, Michigan pressed its lead to 17 at halftime. Then it was 30. Then, amazingly, the Wolverines led No. 9 Wisconsin by 40 points near the midway point of the second half.

” It says a lot about their maturity– understanding that every possession counts and matters,” stated Howard, in his 2nd season as Michigan’s coach. “Wisconsin’s a team that’s capable of going on runs, and basketball is based upon runs.”

On this night, it was No. 7 Michigan that made the big run– and that’s an understatement. The Wolverines outscored the Badgers 43-6 over a stretch that spanned parts of both halves, and Michigan remained unbeaten with a 77-54 win Tuesday.

Mike Smith had 16 points and 6 assists for the Wolverines. Franz Wagner added 15 points and 10 rebounds. It was another work of art for Michigan (11-0, 6-0 Huge 10), which ended up being first string in college basketball history to beat 3 ranked opponents in a row by at least 19 points.

” They’re coached effectively. They have a lot of players and they have playmakers on both ends of the floor,” said D’Mitrik Trice, who led Wisconsin with 20 points. “A great deal of men that can get up and run the flooring. A great deal of shooters. And, they space the floor truly well. They’re really disciplined in what they need to get accomplished. It just shows.”

Michigan set the tone for this one with its rim protection. The Badgers (10-3, 4-2) struggled to complete plays around the basket early on, and the Wolverines had 6 blocked shots in the first half alone.

Michigan led 26-23 before scoring the last 14 points of the half. A steal and soak by Wagner made it 33-23. Smith followed that with a take and a layup. Wagner then drove the standard and soaked for a 14-point advantage.

The start of the 2nd half wasn’t any much better for Wisconsin. A 3-pointer by Eli Brooks made it 47-26, and a 3 by Smith made it 54-26. Finally, a layup by Chaundee Brown provided Michigan a nearly incomprehensible 69-29 lead.

” You absolutely do not anticipate that coming into the game,” Wagner stated. “Understanding how we worked, what we carried out in the summer, I’m simply happy that it settles.”

The last time Michigan began the season with a run like this was when the Wolverines were 17-0 throughout the 2018-19 season. Wisconsin actually ended that unbeaten streak, but the Badgers didn’t come close to a repeat performance.

BIG PHOTO

Wisconsin: The Badgers have actually been a little a thorn in Michigan’s side for many years, and they entered this video game having won seven of their last 10 at Crisler Center. But this time, their 3-point shooting (9 of 28) was not almost sufficient to make up for all their problems inside the arc.

Michigan: After taking down three straight ranked teams by approximately 22.3 points, the only genuine concern for the Wolverines at this stage is they may be playing their best basketball in January. If they look anything like this in March, they ought to be thought about a nationwide title contender.

DECEIVING

What’s impressive about this stretch for Michigan is the final ratings don’t inform the whole story of the Wolverines’ dominance. Michigan led by 29 versus Northwestern prior to winning by 19. The Wolverines led by 37 against Minnesota prior to winning by 25. And after that Michigan’s most significant lead Tuesday was 40.

” They’ve done that to a lot of groups,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard stated. “They get a little trigger and it becomes an avalanche.”

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: The Badgers have an opportunity to rebound rapidly when they dip into Rutgers on Friday night.

Michigan: The Wolverines go on the roadway Saturday for a rematch at No. 23 Minnesota.

Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister

More AP college basketball: http://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP– Top25

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