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Steven Crowl, No. 15 Wisconsin top Western Michigan

Dec 30, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Western Michigan Broncos guard Lamar Norman Jr. (11) dribbles the ball under coverage by Wisconsin Badgers guard Chucky Hepburn (23) during the first half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Crowl scored 20 of his career-high 25 points in the second half to lift No. 15 Wisconsin to a 76-66 nonconference victory over Western Michigan on Friday night in Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin (10-2), which has won five straight, was playing for the first time since a 78-56 home victory over Lehigh on Dec. 15. The Badgers’ scheduled game vs. Grambling State on Dec. 23 was canceled due to weather issues.

After leading by just two at halftime, Wisconsin opened the second half with a 16-4 run, going in front 45-31 on Crowl’s layup with 15:33 to go. Crowl, who shot 1-for-3 from the floor in the first half, hit his first five shots after the break.

Crowl’s 3-pointer put the Badgers up 74-56 with 2:39 remaining. Western Michigan hit its final seven shots to narrow the final score.

Crowl finished with 9 of 13 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Chucky Hepburn added 11 points for the Badgers and Tyler Wahl had 10.

Wisconsin made 18 of 29 shots (62.1 percent) in the second half, including 8 of 13 3-point tries (61.5 percent). The Badgers finished 12 of 27 (44.4 percent) from deep.

Tray Maddox Jr. had 16 points and Lamar Norman Jr. added 12 for Western Michigan (4-9), which has not beaten a Big Ten team since defeating Michigan 56-52 on Nov. 30, 2002.

Western Michigan, which trailed by 11 early, pulled within 29-27 entering halftime, offsetting Wisconsin’s 12-2 advantage in the paint with seven 3-pointers.

Wisconsin jumped out to a 14-3 lead, but Western Michigan rallied within 24-22 on a 3-pointer by Markeese Hastings.

The Broncos, who entered shooting 32.9 percent from beyond the arc, hit seven of their first 13 from deep but missed their final six attempts of the half.

Wisconsin, which is 2-0 in Big Ten action, returns to conference play Tuesday night at home against Minnesota. Western Michigan begins its Mid-American Conference schedule Tuesday at Kent State.

–Field Level Media