Michigan Wolverines eventually shake off rust from 3-week layoff to drop Wisconsin Badgers, 67-59


AP Sports Writer

MADISON, Wis. — Michigan only needed 20 minutes or so to shake off the rust from a three-week layoff.

Isaiah Livers scored 20 points, Hunter Dickinson had 11 points and 15 rebounds, and the third-ranked Wolverines rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat No. 21 Wisconsin 67-59 on Sunday.

The Wolverines (14-1, 9-1 Big Ten) hadn’t played since a 70-53 victory at Purdue on Jan. 22. Michigan announced the next day it was pausing all athletic activities after several people linked to the athletic department tested positive for a COVID-19 variant that transmits at a higher rate.

“I was outside, I was doing jump-rope, I was doing everything necessary to stay in shape,” Livers said. “A lot of other guys were, too. We all had a program. We all stayed true to it, and obviously (you saw) the outcome.”

That was apparent down the stretch.

After trailing most of the way, Michigan scored the game’s final eight points. Wisconsin (15-7, 9-6) collected just six points and one basket over the final 7:45.

Dickinson made numerous big plays with the game on the line.

Michigan trailed 57-56 when Dickinson got the offensive rebound off a missed 3-pointer from Eli Brooks and found Livers, who sank a 3-pointer with 2:48 left. D’Mitrik Trice tied the game by hitting two free throws, but Michigan pulled ahead for good on Dickinson’s putback with 1:46 remaining.