March 1, 2012
Site: Champaign, Ill. (Assembly Hall)
Score: #13 Michigan 72, Illinois 61
Records: U-M (22-8; 12-5 Big Ten), Illinois (17-13; 6-11 Big Ten)
Next U-M Game: Sunday, March 4 -- at Penn State (State College, Pa.), 1:05 p.m. (TV: ESPN)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (Miami, Fla./Palmetto Senior) and freshman guard Trey Burke (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) combined for 46 points as the University of Michigan men's basketball team (No. 13 AP, No. 16 ESPN/USA Today) picked up a 72-61 victory at Illinois on Thursday night (March 1) inside Assembly Hall. The win snapped a 13-game losing streak to Illinois in Champaign, marking U-M's first win at Assembly Hall since Jan. 17, 1995.
Hardaway, who led the Wolverines with 25 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, registered his second double-double of the season and the third of his career. Burke, who registered 21 points and five assists, set the Michigan single-season record for assists by a freshman (143), surpassing Gary Grant -- 140 assists in the 1984-85 season. Michigan never trailed in the game, taking the lead for good at 11:33 of the opening half on the first three of eight unanswered points by Burke.
The Wolverines hit four of their first six shots, each coming from a different starter, to take a 7-2 lead to start the game. After an Illinois jumper, Hardaway scored seven consecutive points as Michigan held a 14-11 advantage with 12:19 left.
Following an Illinois three-pointer, Burke scored the next 10 U-M points as part of a 13-2 run for the Maize and Blue. Burke capped off the run with an assist to sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz (Reading, Mass./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]), who hit a three-pointer to give the Wolverines a 27-18 lead with 7:00 left in the half. The teams exchanged small runs to close out the half, and U-M headed to the locker room with a 35-27 lead.
Burke scored 14 of his 21 points in the first 20 minutes. This matched his entire scoring output in Michigan's win over Illinois on Feb. 12.
Coming out of the break, each team started the scoring with a three-pointer, but Illinois followed with a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 40-39. Hardaway stopped the run with a trey, but the Fighting Illini responded with a triple of their own to remain within one, 43-42, with 14:53 remaining.
The Wolverines went on a scoring drought over the next 4:29, during which Illinois had five chances to either tie the game or take the lead. But the Wolverines defense maintained its advantage, never allowing the Fighting Illini to fully close the gap.
Hardaway then went on to score 11 straight points for Michigan -- part of a 12-2 run that extended the U-M lead to 58-46 with 6:17 left. Hardaway only missed one of his seven field goal attempts and made all four three-point tries.
Illinois then made one final charge, going on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 58-53 with 4:25 left. However, the Maize and Blue shot 14-16 from the free throw line en route to a 91 percent (21-of-23) mark from the charity stripe for the night.
The Wolverines will close out the regular season on Sunday (March 4) when they travel to State College, Pa., to take on Penn State. Tipoff is slated for 1:05 p.m. from the Bryce Jordan Center and the game will be televised on ESPN.
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423