|#3 Michigan (11-0)||43||38||81|
|West Virginia (4-5)||32||34||66|
The final major test before the Big Ten schedule begins was passed with flying colors in Brooklyn on Saturday night. Michigan jumped out to a big lead and fought off a late charge to beat West Virginia 81-66.
Michigan raced out to a 13-2 lead in the first two minutes and widened it to 24-7 at the 13 minute mark of the first half. West Virginia then went on a 11-1 run to cut the lead to 10 before a Trey Burke jumper stopped the run. Michigan widened the lead back to 15, but WV was determined to make it a game. Ten straight points cut Michigan’s lead to 32-27, but Michigan stifled the comeback once again and carried a 43-32 lead into the half.
Michigan scored nine of the first 11 points of the second half to build an 18-point lead and it stayed that way until West Virginia mounted a final comeback attempt. From the 8:39 mark to 4:31, the Mountaineers outscored Michigan 17-6 to cut the lead to just seven. But from there, Michigan made 8-of-10 free throws to seal the win.
Michigan’s two big stars, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr, played their best on the big stage, scoring 27 and 25 points, respectively. Burke made 12-of-16 shots from the field and doled out eight assists. Hardaway made 7-of-12, including 4-of-8 from three-point range and 7-of-8 free throws. The Wolverines’ only other player in double digits was Nik Stauskas who had 10, though he hit just 2-of-7 three-point attempts. The other two starters, Jordan Morgan and Glenn Robinson III scored eight apiece, while Michigan got just three points from its bench – two from Mitch McGary and one from Jon Horford.
As a team, Michigan shot 56 percent and held West Virginia to just 38.5 percent. Michigan out-rebounded West Virginia 32-29, holding the Mountaineers 12.5 below their season average on the glass. For the first time this season, Michigan finished the game with more turnovers than assists, with 14 and 13. Stauskas had six of the turnovers, while Burke had none.
The most discouraging aspect of the win was the loss of Horford to a knee injury in the first half. Reports this morning say it’s a dislocated kneecap, and John Beilein said he could return in two or three weeks.
Michigan returns home to face Eastern Michigan on Thursday and then Central Michigan on Dec. 29 before opening Big Ten play at Northwestern on Jan. 3. The Wolverines’ conference schedule opens with the Wildcats, followed by Iowa, Nebraska, and Ohio State, so there is a very good chance Michigan could be 16-0 heading into the big Jan. 13 showdown in Columbus.
With Indiana’s loss to Butler on Saturday afternoon, Michigan should move up a spot in the national rankings. Duke will likely take over No. 1 with Michigan right behind. Based on Duke’s remaining schedule and the relative weakness of the ACC this season, it’s hard to imagine Michigan passing the Blue Devils in the rankings anytime soon.
|Final Game Stats|
|01||Glenn Robinson III*||2-4||0-2||4-6||3||4||7||2||8||1||2||2||1||31|
|10||Tim Hardaway Jr*||7-12||4-8||7-8||0||4||4||3||25||3||3||0||2||38|