Michigan basketball did today what they couldn’t do in Happy Valley, they finished off Penn State. Eerily for Michigan fans, the Wolverines went up by 15 at nearly the exact same time they did on the road v. this same team. This time, Michigan dropped the hammer and won by a final knockout of 83-66.
How They Won
Penn State jumped out early on a surprisingly sluggish and scrambling Michigan team. With less than six minutes having run off the clock, Michigan was staring down the barrel of a 14-3 deficit. Due to some inspired play from freshman Mitch McGary, the Wolverines ripped off an 11-0 run of their own to climb right back in it.
From there, Michigan did their best to hold off a scrappy Penn State team and eventually exerted their dominance. John Beilein got strong play out of McGary and Jon Horford on a day where Jordan Morgan couldn’t get it rolling.
Horford and McGary were two of five Wolverines who finished in double digits. Trey Burke paved the way with 21 points and was joined in double figures by Nik Stauskas and Tim Hardaway, Jr. who had 15 apiece. Horford added 11 and McGary knocked down all 10 of his in the 1st half.
A 3-13 effort from Jermaine Marshall really hurt Penn State today. Marshall and Ross Travis were the two guys that Michigan had no answer for at Penn State. DJ Newbill carried the offensive load with 20 points. Travis had 12 points and 11 boards and early production from Sasa Borovnjak pushed him to a 15-point day.
It was enough in the end though as Michigan shot 48.3% from the floor. Beilein wanted his team to work it down low and get to the rim off the dribble and they did that with effectiveness all afternoon. Perhaps most importantly, Michigan was 19-23 from the free throw line, answering any questions about their ability to shoot with efficiency from the stripe.
- Trey Burke – Burke had a game-high 21 points, 3 assists, 2 boards, and 3 blocks. He hit a series of pull-up jumpers that the Nittany Lions had no answer for. He finished 7-15 from the floor and 3-5 from deep.
- Mitch McGary – When things were looking shaky early on, it was McGary who got it rolling with a dominant performance on the offensive glass and some nice put-backs. By halftime, McGary had 10 points and 10 rebounds. He finished with those same 10 points and 11 boards but his effort in the 1st half was vital in making sure that this one didn’t get away from the Maize & Blue.
- Jon Horford – The redshirt Sophomore was a monster off the bench, playing what was probably his best game as a Wolverine. In just 10 minutes of play, Horford scored 11 points, grabbed five boards, and swatted two shots away.
News and Notes
- In what turned out to be a very crisp game, the two teams combined for just 12 turnovers (only 4 for Michigan).
- The Wolverines recovered from an early beating on the glass and ended up out-rebounding the Nittany Lions 36-32.
- After the game, Beilein didn’t shut the door on the possibility of a change in the big man rotation. He said he would evaluate matchups and decide from there.
- In talking about the contributions of Mitch McGary after the game, Trey Burke referred to him as a “future captain”, speaking volumes to what he means to this team and their potential this March/April.
Phase two of the Michigan Revenge Tour will take place on Friday afternoon at approximately 2:30 eastern v. Wisconsin. Michigan fans don’t need to be reminded about what happened at the Kohl Center. Now that the Penn State mishap has been avenged, it is time for Michigan to lock down the Badgers and get to the weekend.
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