Minneapolis, MN (WKZO) – The previous time Michigan and Minnesota faced each other, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke combined for 50 points, in a 73-69 overtime victory during the quarterfinals of last year’s Big Ten Tournament. On Thursday night, the Wolverines top two scorers combined for only 39 but the outcome of the game was the same, as Michigan (17-1, 4-1 Big Ten) rolled to their fourth consecutive victory at Williams Arena, topping the Gophers 83-75.
This was the second half of back to back tough road matchups for Michigan and after losing at Ohio State on Sunday, a road win against the #9 Gophers was needed in order to not fall two losses behind Big Ten leader Wisconsin.
And while Michigan came out flat at OSU, trailing by more than 20 against the Buckeyes, it was a completely different start against the Gophers.
The Wolverines were able to build up a big lead in the first half thanks to their dynamic backcourt duo of Hardaway and Burke.
Tim Hardaway Jr. was feeling it out of the gate, scoring 12 of the first 21 points for Michigan and 17 in the first half.
Burke had ten in the first and also had a jersey change after his traditional #3 blue jersey was ripped. Once officials noticed the rip, play was stopped, and after a quick decision, Burke was sent to the bench by officials for a jersey change. When Burke reappeared on the court, he was wearing a #12 jersey with no name on the back.
Burke should consider a number change, as he scored 15 of his 18 points sporting the #12.
As good as Hardaway and Burke were, the Gophers continued to allow turnovers to haunt them, committing 15 of them, 11 coming in the first half. Minnesota’s carelessness with the ball propelled a 16-3 run by Michigan giving them a 10 point lead with under eight minutes left in the half. The Gophers were able to cut the lead to two and trailed at the half 36-30.
Nik Stauskas helped extend the Wolverines with seven early second half points including a baseline dunk, tying Michigan’s largest lead of the game at 19, 58-39.
But just as Minnesota did against Indiana in their previous game, the Gophers battled back, and backed by eight straight points, Minnesota lowered Michigan’s lead to 64-56. However, the Gophers could never get the deficit below seven as their trailed the final 33 minutes of the game, and failed once again to beat a top 10 opponent, with the last victory against a top 10 opponent coming in 1994 against Arizona.
Glenn Robinson III had only nine points, but had the highlight of the game, with a breakaway 360 dunk in the second half.
Jordan Morgan was also forced to wear a different jersey than the one he started with. Morgan got blood on his jersey and switched to a #30 jersey. The senior center had nine points, all while wearing the #30 and in the second half.
Austin Hollings led the Gophers (15-3, 3-2 Big Ten) with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists and Trevor Mbakwe had a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds.