Michigan 74 – Illinois 60: Relentless defense shuts down Illini

January 27th, 2013 by Justin Potts


Final 1st 2nd Total
#2 Michigan (19-1, 6-1) 35 39 74
Illinois (15-6, 2-5) 27 33 60

Nik Stauskas torched Illinois for 16 points (Joe Robbins, Getty Images)

Staring down the number one national ranking for the second Sunday in three weeks, Michigan needed a Big Ten road win over Illinois. And the Wolverines did just that with a 74-60 win in Champaign on Sunday evening.

Illinois started the game exactly the way head coach John Groce wanted them to – with a statement dunk. But it was the only statement the Illini would make the rest of the night. Michigan took its first lead out of the under-16 timeout on a Trey Burke jumper that ignited a 9-0 run over the next four-plus minutes. Illinois kept it close for the remainder of the first half, but Burke hit a step-back jumper with four seconds left to give Michigan a 35-27 halftime lead.

In the second, Illinois made a point to go right at Michigan to get the big men in foul trouble. They were able to pull within four at 41-37, but that was as close as they would get. The Michigan lead grew to as many as 18 at 70-52 with just over four minutes to play and the Wolverines cruised to the 14-point victory.

Despite losing Jordan Morgan to a sprained ankle early on, the Wolverines got solid inside production by committee from Mitch McGary, Jon Horford, and Max Bielfeldt. The trio combined for 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Like usual, Burke led all scorers with 19 points. He also added five rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Nik Stauskas scored 16 on 7-of-11 shooting, while Tim Hardaway Jr. added 12. Glenn Robinson III also finished in double figures with 10 points, and led the Wolverines with seven boards.

As a team, Michigan shot 52.5 percent from the field while holding Illinois to 37.1. The Illini chucked up 26 three-pointers and hit just six of them.

With Duke’s blowout loss to Miami earlier this week, Michigan is likely to move up to No. 1 in the national rankings. Following the game, John Beilein was asked what it would mean and he responded that a year from now, no one will remember who was No. 1 at the end of January. But rest assured Michigan fans would, as most of the players on the team weren’t even alive the last time Michigan held the top spot, in the 1992-93 season.

The Wolverines return home to host Northwestern on Wednesday night and visit Indiana on Saturday for what should determine the Big Ten frontrunner.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
01 Glenn Robinson III* 5-7 0-1 0-0 2 5 7 1 10 2 0 0 1 38
52 Jordan Morgan* 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2
10 Tim Hardaway Jr.* 5-9 2-4 0-0 0 3 3 1 12 2 2 1 3 38
03 Trey Burke* 7-19 1-5 4-7 1 4 5 1 19 5 3 0 3 37
11 Nik Stauskas* 7-11 2-5 0-0 0 2 2 0 16 2 0 1 0 34
02 Spike Albrecht 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
04 Mitch McGary 3-7 0-0 0-0 4 4 8 4 6 0 2 0 0 16
15 Jon Horford 3-3 0-0 1-2 1 3 4 3 7 1 3 0 1 13
23 Caris LeVert 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 8
44 Max Bielfeldt 1-2 0-0 2-4 2 0 2 1 4 0 1 0 1 6
Totals 31-59 5-15 7-13 12 23 35 12 74 13 12 2 9 200
Illinois 23-62 6-26 8-9 16 20 36 14 60 7 15 1 7 200