No. 16 Michigan takes care of Minnesota
Ann Arbor, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Nik Stauskas hit five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 21 points and the 16th-ranked Michigan Wolverines took down Minnesota, 66-56, to claim at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title.
Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III added 13 and 12 points, respectively, with Spike Albrecht adding a crucial seven off the bench and Jordan Morgan grabbing 10 rebounds in the triumph. Michigan (21-7, 13-3 Big Ten), which shared the title with Michigan State last season, moved two full games ahead of the Spartans on top of the standings. The Wolverines will travel to Illinois on Tuesday before hosting Indiana next Saturday to wrap up the regular season.
"These guys set a goal and they're almost all the way there," said Michigan head coach John Beilein. "That's really rewarding."
Austin Hollins paced Minnesota (18-12, 7-10) with 16 points and Andre Hollins chipped in 10. The Golden Gophers have lost seven of their last 10 tilts.
"They're such a good offensive team," praised Minnesota coach Richard Pitino. "They make you pay. Not only does he (Beilein) run great stuff, they've got great players."
The teams traded blows early on, with Minnesota claiming a 13-7 lead midway through the first half after Daquein McNeil's layup. But as has been the trend for Michigan in conference play, it came alive late in the opening period.
Morgan and Stauskas bookended a 9-2 run with layups to put the Wolverines in front. Stauskas and LeVert then canned 3s around an Elliott Eliason bucket for a six-point margin.
After Andre Hollins hit a jumper 1:46 before halftime, Stauskas brought the crowd to its feet with an alley-oop toss to Robinson, who threw it down with two hands in traffic. Stauskas then found space in the corner and potted a triple, and LeVert's steal led to another Robinson alley-oop, this time a layup from Stauskas.
The late burst gave the Maize and Blue a comfortable 31-20 cushion.
It was 41-30 after yet another Stauskas 3-ball six minutes into the second half, but the Wolverines went cold after that and allowed the Gophers back in it.
Minnesota kept it close but never got over the hump. Charles Buggs' triple near the midway point of the second half made it 44-41. The lead was down to two with seven minutes left when Robinson scored four straight, including another jam and a putback layup. It was back to two when Albrecht corralled an offensive rebound and fed Jordan Morgan for a layup just before the final media timeout.
Albrecht carried Michigan down the stretch, hitting a pair of free throws before unleashing a deep 3 with a minute left to seal the outcome.
The Wolverines have now won six straight in the series and 10 of the last 11 ... Michigan shot 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field ... Minnesota outscored Michigan 32-24 in the paint ... The Gophers made just 5-of-18 from the arc.
03/01 22:55:41 ET