After a rough 1-3 stretch, Michigan tries to make it two Big Ten wins in a row in a 1 p.m. game against Illinois today at the Crisler Center. Follow the action here with live updates by Rod Beard of The Detroit News.
Live Updates EndedPlease read below for an archived view of this event.
Ann Arbor – With three losses in their last five games, Michigan was looking to put together its first back-to-back wins in the month of February.
The Wolverines trailed for most of the first half, but bounced back to take an 71-58 victory over Illinois on Sunday afternoon at Crisler Center.
Trey Burke had 26 points and eight assists and Tim Hardaway Jr. 13 points for No. 7 U-M (23-4, 10-4), which moved into a third-place tie with Wisconsin, two games behind first-place Indiana.
Michigan is on a 9-0 run, thanks in part to Trey Burke, who found Tim Hardaway Jr. on a lay-in then hit a 3-pointer. Caris LeVert followed with a 3-pointer, giving Michigan its first double-digit lead since January.
The back-to-back 3-pointers electrified the Crisler crowd and helped dig a deep hole for the Illini. Although Nik Stauskas hasn’t scored, the Wolverines have gotten nice contributions from the bench, with six points from LeVert, four from Horford and three from Spike Albrecht.
Trey Burke hit a pair of free throws at the 14:52 mark, giving him 1,001 points in career, becoming the seventh Michigan player to achieve that feat in as a sophomore. He has 16 points and six assists and has guided Michigan to a seven-point lead.
Michigan is playing with more energy and has created more turnovers in the second half, which has helped give them the lead. Jon Horford and Mitch McGary have combined for 10 points, exorcising the difficulty from the Penn State game.
It’s not one of their superior efforts of the season, but it’s what they needed against one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten — if they can hold on for the win.
Glenn Robinson III scored six points in less than three minutes — but the impact may be more than that. Robinson hit a lay-in, then after Trey Burke’s 3-pointer, got a dunk after a behind-the-back pass from Jordan Morgan then got a steal and a breakaway dunk to give Michigan a 41-34 lead, its largest of the game.
Michigan definitely is a different team when Robinson is plugged in and scoring — 10 points so far — but also active on both ends of the court.
With a long 3-pointer, Trey Burke reached 999 career points, just one from becoming the seventh sophomore to reach that plateau.
Burke has 12 points and five assists and is having another good game — having scored in double figures in every game this season. His triple broke a 34-34 tie and started the Wolverines on a 5-0 run.
The Illini scored the final five points of the half, including a triple by Brandon Paul with one second left, to take a 31-28 lead on Michigan at Crisler Center.
Michigan had taken a 28-26 lead after a tip by Mitch McGary with 2:00 left, but U-M couldn’t convert on the offensive end, leaving the Illini to pull ahead.
Rebounding has been the early story, with Illinois holding a 18-12 advantage on the glass — with a 7-2 margin on the offensive end.
After an 8-0 run pulled them into a tie, Michigan finally moved ahead after Tim Hardaway Jr. scored and was fouled at the 3:30 mark of the first half. Although Illinois has had an advantage on the glass, Michigan now is starting to run and get more open-court opportunities.
Trey Burke and Hardaway have seven points each and Glenn Robinson III has four. Jordan Morgan has looked about the best he has since the ankle injury, running off screens and showing on pick-and-roll plays.
Illinois leads the rebounding margin, 13-7 — and Michigan doesn’t have an offensive rebound yet. With an emphasis on toughness this week, the Wolverines haven’t been able to win the battle of the boards. In the first meeting, Illinois had a 36-35 edge — even with Jordan Morgan missing most of the game for Michigan.
As I noted in my pregame points, how much the big men can contribute will be one of the keys to the game. They normally will have a decided advantage, as the Illini bigs aren’t traditional big men, but with McGary, Morgan and Horford, Michigan should be able to at least stay even on the boards.
The Illini thrive on the 3-pointer — and have made 3 of their 6 attempts, racing out to an early lead against Michigan. Coach John Beilein said much of Michigan’s focus this week was on improving defense and getting back to fundamentals. So far, Illinois hasn’t had open looks, but have been able to create offense from the outside.
With Jordan Morgan still recovering from his sprained right ankle — which occurred, ironically, at Illinois on Jan. 27 — Michigan coach John Beilein chose to go with freshman Mitch McGary in the starting lineup. It’s McGary’s second career start — along with the big game at Michigan State — so it’ll be interesting to see how he responds to minutes with the starters.
After going scoreless against Penn State, he’s looking to bounce back against the Illini, against whom he had six points and eight rebounds in the first meeting.
It’s hard to believe that it’s the final week of February and Michigan doesn’t have back-to-back wins this month. The last time the Wolverines had a win streak was Jan. 30, when the victory over Northwestern made it four straight.
If there are a few things to look for today, it’s how the big men work together and what production they can get from the center position of Jordan Morgan, Mitch McGary and Jon Horford — a combo that produced zero points and seven rebounds against Penn State.
Another thing to watch is whether Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas continue their confident play, which seemed to get them out of the doldrums they had been mired in for the past few weeks. Tim Hardaway also has struggled a bit in the past two games but given the streak he was on in the previous few games, it seems to be a bit of an anomaly — what coach John Beilein says is “just two games”.