Feb. 26, 2014
By Jenny Herstein, U-M Public & Media Relations
Over the weekend, the University of Michigan men's basketball team moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten as the Wolverines defeated Michigan State, 79-70 at Crisler Center to complete a season sweep of the Spartans.
Trailing by one, 52-51, near the midway point of the second half, Michigan used a 13-0 run to take a 64-52 lead and pull away for the victory. Nik Stauskas scored a game-high 25 points, 21 of which came after halftime, and Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III added 23 and 15 points, respectively.
Following his performance against MSU, Stauskas was named the Big Ten Player of the Week, his third of the season and the most of any conference player.
LeVert, meanwhile, has been Michigan's leader over the last five games, averaging team bests of 19.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
"Caris has really helped us with another guy to get into the lane," head coach John Beilein said. "We have three guys right now that are getting into the lane a lot. The point guard, and Nik and Caris really help us put pressure on the rim."
Now, Michigan will close the regular season by playing its last four games over a 11-day span, beginning with a trip to West Lafayette, Ind., to rematch Purdue. A win would give Michigan its fourth straight 20-win season.
"We have to just do what we do and don't change our approach," Beilein said. "Our approach has been: alright, we're going to focus on today's practice, and you guys know what's right here in front of you, just do your best. Hopefully we've learned a lot in the past, in any of our losses. We're just going to stay that same course we have all year long."
Earlier this season (Jan. 30), the Wolverines defeated the Boilermakers in a 75-66 decision at Crisler Center. LeVert recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Stauskas (14 points), Derrick Walton Jr. (14 points) and Jordan Morgan (11 points) also contributed in double figures. Michigan shot 60.9 percent (28-of-46) from the field, including 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from three-point range.
Turnovers, however, were troublesome in the first matchup for the Wolverines, who finished with 16 on the night.
"They came out very physically on the ball," Beilein said of Purdue. "We had a couple of full-court turnovers, and they pressured us. We did not respond well to it. We have to shore that up."
Although Michigan trails the all-time series in West Lafayette, 23-51, the Wolverines have won their last three games at Mackey Arena, including a 66-64 win on Jan. 24, 2012 and an 80-75 victory last season on March 6, 2013.