Feb. 6, 2013
By Morgan Bailey, U-M Public & Media Relations
When head coach John Beilein addressed his team before Tuesday night's (Feb. 5) game against Ohio State, he reminded them of something they were already well aware of, "Game nights are special," Beilein said. "But tonight is a little different, tonight is a little more special, tonight is Ohio State."
As the Wolverines nodded their heads in agreement, this statement hit close to home for sophomore point guard Trey Burke. A native of Columbus, Ohio, the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is always a heated one for Burke, and Tuesday night the point guard had close to 20 of his closest family members in the crowd supporting him.
"We have a total of 18 people here tonight," Burke's mother, Ronda Burke, remarked. "We actually have to be a little exclusive with who we invite. If we opened it up to everyone we would have a lot of people wanting to come. Tonight it's mainly family; grandparents, cousins, his sister, etc."
In front of a sellout crowd at Crisler Center, the starting lineups for each team were introduced. As the announcer introduced Burke as the "pride of Columbus," Trey's family cheered a little bit louder than everyone else.
"It is absolutely amazing to be here tonight," Jackie Burke, Trey's grandmother, commented. "A lot of grandparents don't get to experience this, so we are very blessed. And we know that Trey is blessed to be at this school. We are just so happy that we are here tonight, especially with the home crowd."
"I'm actually really calm," Ronda Burke expressed before the game. "It must be because we have the home crowd tonight. I was really nervous for the game in Columbus, but I'm just excited tonight."
Forty minutes of game-time later, and the score tied, 72-72, the game went into overtime. The electric crowd inside of Crisler Center erupted into cheers as Burke drained a three-point shot to begin the extra period. The Buckeyes only scored two points in overtime, and a critical block by Burke with just seconds remaining in the game sealed the victory for the Wolverines.
"I can't explain the feeling right now, it is awesome," Trey Burke's older sister, Amber, gleefully expressed just moments after the final buzzer of overtime sounded. "I am in shock right now. The fact that we won tonight, it just means so much."
"To have them here and see a great game like this that went into overtime between one of the most prestigious rivalries in all of college basketball, it means a lot," Trey commented after the game. "My support system is so strong. It means a lot to have their support behind us tonight in a hard-fought game like this. They definitely helped us pull off the win."
Currently living in Columbus, the Burkes receive a lot of heckling from their Buckeye neighbors.
"We're from Columbus, and we get a lot of grief, so this is such a relief," Amber said. "They love Trey back home, but when we lose it's like a hurricane. I don't have to hear all of that now, I can be the one doing the talking."
"They gave us a hard time in Columbus," Jackie said. "We still wore the Block M proudly though. We are just so proud of Trey; we're proud of his parents, and we are proud of all our family that came here tonight."
Muffled by the roaring sound of the fans in Crisler Center after the Wolverines knocked off the Buckeyes, Amber could hardly put her emotions into words. "I am just so proud of him," she said, still trying to process the excitement of the moment. "I am more proud than he will ever know."