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December 8, 2012Michigan big man Jordan Morgan played one of the best 10-minute stretches in his career at the outset of U-M's 80-67 win over Arkansas, scoring 10 points on an array of putbacks, finishes - even a half-hook . He worked the glass on both ends in finishing with five first half rebounds (10 total) and was the catalyst in leading the Wolverines to a quick start.
U-M point guard Trey Burke opened the scoring with a triple from the top, but spent most of the half setting up his teammates. Junior wing Tim Hardaway Jr. scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds, Glenn Robinson added 10, notching a pair of triples, and the supporting cast all provided valuable minutes. Arkansas shadowed sniper Nik Stauskas, determined not to let him get his looks, but the Wolverines got plenty of good shots. Head coach John Beilein mixed in some 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone with a switching man defense to create some confusion and help U-M open up a lead as big as 13 points.
When the Razorbacks made a run to cut it as low as five points, Stauskas finally hit a long triple from the corner to put the Wolverines back up nine, 25-16. Robinson countered an Arkansas lay-up with a triple of his own from Burke to push it back to 10, which is where it remained at the half (42-32). The Razorbacks made six of 12 triples, including 3-for-3 from walk-on guard Kikko Haydard, to keep it relatively close.
U-M finished with 21 rebounds, including 13 on the offensive end, to only 12 total rebounds for Arkansas.
Michigan struggled to find an offensive flow early, missing its first six and scoring only one point - on a Burke free throw - in the first four minutes. Mitch McGary, whose only two first half points came on a nice post move and slam, tipped in a Morgan miss to make it 45-38 after Arkansas ripped off six of the first seven, second half points.
The Razorbacks continued to own the second half tempo, pressing and turning sloppy Michigan offensive play into a run. Morgan struggled to finish inside and the Wolverines turned it over on a few possessions - Arkansas cut it to two on a long Mardracus Wade triple from the top before Burke answered with a drive and finish. Hardaway Jr. hit a triple from the corner on a dish from Burke to make it 50-45 at 11:34, and Stausksas finished a righty lay-up in traffic from the left side to push the lead back to seven.
Two more triples from the Razorbacks, though, made it a one-point game with nine minutes to go. They continued to force the tempo with their press, to their advantage. The teams continued to trade baskets, including a Stauskas triple, in an up and down game.
Freshman point guard Spike Albrecht hit a huge triple in transition to finally provide some separation, 62-55 at 7:30, and big man Jon Horford provided some defense and rebounding to help counter Arkansas' inside game, but it still remained a five-point game at 6:00 to go. Burke, gassed, made two of three free throws on a questionable foul call behind the arc to put U-M back up by nine, 68-59, and he helped the Wolverines ice it with a finish in traffic and a steal and two-handed jam.
Robinson scored a quiet 17 to lead Michigan, while Burke added 16 and seven assists, Hardaway 14 and nine rebounds, Morgan 12 and 10 and Stauskas 12 in the 13-point win. McGary added six points and five rebounds.
U-M finished with a 42-26 advantage on the glass.