Michigan basketball (23-4, 10-4) sorely needed a convincing win. To have to get it against an Illinois team (20-9, 7-8) that won 5 straight games and was playing with a ton of confidence was a tall order, but they got it. Michigan used a dominant 2nd half to get the 71-58 win.
How They Won
The Wolverines started off slow on defense giving up 11 quick points before the first media timeout. From that point on it was a different mindset and Michigan clawed back and then took control with a brilliant 2nd half.
Credit Jordan Morgan and Caris LeVert for outstanding defensive efforts. To have them both back from bum ankles and playing with a spring in their step was something that John Beilein’s team had been missing in a bad way.
Michigan entered halftime trailing 31-28 but came out and played the type of ball fans had gotten used to for the better part of the season. On the strength of some inspired defensive play and an efficient offensive attack, Michigan outscored the Illini 43-27 in the 2nd half.
Trey Burke had a game-high 26 points to pace the Michigan attack. Illinois had 3 players score 10 points apiece, which wasn’t enough on this day.
- Trey Burke – Burke was sensational. He made some big shots early in the game to keep Michigan tight on the scoreboard. He finished 8-11 from the field, 2-3 from deep, and 8-10 from the free throw line for 26 points. He added 8 assists, 3 boards, a steal, and just 1 turnover.
- Jordan Morgan – How does a guy who only scored 1 point make this list? The answer is by changing the look of the entire defense. Morgan did an outstanding job hedging ball screens, raising havoc at the top with double teams, and did good work on the boards as well. We’ve been beating this drum for what seems like far too long now but to have Morgan in the paint on defense is a look Michigan needs in volume. He grabbed 6 boards and a steal but it may have been his passing game that changed the day.
- Tim Hardaway, Jr. – TH2 had a solid all-around game with 13 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
News and Notes
- Morgan had the ball in the paint with Michigan leading 37-34 and dropped a nifty no-look bounce pass to Glenn Robinson who did what he does – throw down thunder. The ensuing dunk by GR3 got the crowd going and pushed Michigan toward a huge 2nd half surge.
- Nik Stauskas was held without a point for the 2nd time in his career. He was 0-5 from the floor including 0-4 from long range. Stauskas gave big minutes away to LeVert in the 2nd half as Michigan went with their best defensive unit for long stretches. Don’t be surprised to see a lot more of that as Michigan closes out the season.
- Michigan was trailing in the rebounding department by an 18-12 margin at half. They came storming back with perhaps their best rebounding half of the season. They out-boarded Illinois 16-6 in the 2nd half.
- The Wolverines had 9 steals on the afternoon.
- Michigan shot 25-49 (51%) from the floor, 6-18 from three, and 15-21 from the free throw line. Illinois was 21-51 (41.2%), 7-22, and 9-14 respectively.
- Michigan had 3 separate runs of at least 8 consecutive points.
- Michigan scored 27 points off of 13 Illinois turnovers
Michigan will play at Penn State on Wednesday night. Tip is set for 6:30 and the game will air on the Big Ten Network.
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