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January 30, 2013One foul - no turnovers.
No, that wasn't the line for Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway. It was the first half line for Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway and everyone else on the Michigan team in a 68-46 win over Northwestern, sparking a 36-21 halftime lead.
The only foul was a questionable one on a steal attempt by big man Mitch McGary, who provided a solid six points and four rebounds in eight minutes.
The first half was a clinic of Michigan players doing what they do best. Sophomore point guard Trey Burke walked the fine line of scorer/distributor to near perfection, finishing with 10 points and six assists in going 4-for-6 from the floor. He was the catalyst behind the unselfishness, making the extra pass - a trait that rubbed off on his teammates throughout the half.
Tim Hardaway Jr. struggled to 1-for-5 shooting, but he was the only one who wasn't red hot. The Wolverines shot 14 of 23 and 5-for-8 in the half, including a perfect 3-for-3 from long range by freshman Nik Stauskas. Stauskas seemed to mouth, "I'm back" (video here: Stauskas three) after the second, regaining the swagger he'd shown at the beginning of the Big Ten season.
Redshirt sophomore big man Jon Horford, playing for injured starter Jordan Morgan, provided four rebounds and solid defense in nine minutes, getting position every time a Northwestern shot went up.
Ball movement, though, was Michigan's most impressive trait in the first half. The Wolverines traded good shots for great shots and played good enough defense to limit the Wildcats to 21 points on 40.9 shooting. U-M only scored six points in transition, but Northwestern didn't manage any on the break.
Michigan scored an impressive 36 points on 24 possessions, getting nine from Stauskas and eight from freshman Glenn Robinson III.
Michigan started the second half cold while Northwestern came out sharp, scoring 10 of the half's first 14 points. Hardaway remained cold, struggling to finish in traffic, while Horford scored Michigan's first four points inside.
Burke and Hardaway both missed wide open triples, and when NU's Dave Sobolewski missed three free throws after being fouled by Burke at 15:37, the lead was still only nine (40-31).
Michigan continued to struggle on the offensive end before Burke started to take over, scoring four points on a drive and finish and two more from the line on a drive and foul. Stauskas drove baseline and finished with a two-handed, sneakily athletic jam and Horford finished a three-point play from Burke to blow it open, 50-33 at the 10-minute mark.
Kale Abrahamson hit a triple from 26-feet to slow the bleeding, but it was only temporary. Burke knifed through the Northwestern defense for another finish, and Horford continued his strong play. He scored 10 points in the first 12:14 of the half.
A Robinson triple from the corner on an assist from a driving Hardaway and a transition finish by Hardaway from Burke put it out of reach, 59-38 at 6:04. Beilein pulled the starters at 1:51 with U-M leading 65-42.
Burke led Michigan with 18 points, eight assists and four rebounds. Robinson III notched 13, Stauskas 11 and Horford 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Wolverines moved to 20-1 for the season with a showdown against No. 3 Indiana on tap in Bloomington Saturday night. They finished with only two turnovers, tying a season low in college basketball this year.