The University of Michigan (21-7, 13-3) Minnesota (18-12, 7-10) today by a score of 66-56. The win clinches at least a share of the Big Ten title after rival Michigan State lost to Illinois today. Michigan can now clinch an outright title by winning either of their last two games.
The Wolverines started the game off by going 3-14 from the floor including 1-9 from three point land. This helped Minnesota, led by Elliott Elliason get off to a 13-7 lead by the 10:55 mark. Some balanced scoring from Jordan Morgan, Glenn Robinson III, and Nik Stauskas, as well as a three pointer from Derrick Walton Jr. got things going offensively for the Wolverines.
The Wolverines took over in the first half from there, watching their lead steadily grow, led by Nik Stauskas with 11 points and Robinson with 8. In the closing 1:46 of the half, the Wolverines went on a 7-0 run to head into the half with a 31-20 lead. The Wolverines finished the first half shooting 50% from the floor compared to 37.5% for Minnesota.
Things got pretty close in the second half, with Minnesota getting within 2 points of the Wolverines on several occasions. A successful three point play by Minnesota’s Maurice Walker made the score 54-52 in favor of Michigan with 4:32 remaining in the half, but at that point the game was all Michigan.
Michigan’s run got started with a Jordan Morgan bucket which he put in after grabbing an offensive board, a play that Minnesota coach Richard Pitino called a turning point in the game. Nik Stauskas followed Morgan’s put back. Spike Albrecht contributed 5 points down the stretch, including a big 3 pointer with 1:14 remaining to give the Wolverines a 10 point lead. It was game over at that point with Michigan coming away with a big win at home.
Stauskas led all scorers with 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting, and Caris LeVert added 13 points. Glenn Robinson III had 12, and while Jordan Morgan only had 5 points, he grabbed a solid ten rebounds. Overall it was a pretty balanced effort from the Wolverines which is encouraging to see.
What it means and looking ahead
What a huge win for Michigan, not because of Minnesota being a juggernaut opponent, but because they have put themselves in position for an outright Big Ten title. This really is remarkable for a team that lost its best player early on in the season, and is a team that is pretty young. The exciting part is that the best may still be to come for this Michigan basketball team. The Wolverines travel to Illinois on Tuesday to play an Illinois team coming off a huge win against Michigan State.