Michigan got bad news before a 68-65 win over Stanford when sophomore big man Mitch McGary was held out due to a back injury. The Wolverines then missed their first five shots, falling behind 5-2 at the first TV timeout with the only bucket coming on a drive and finish from sophomore Glenn Robinson III.
Jon Horford quickly picked up his first foul battling for a rebound, replaced by fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan. Morgan got beat for a lay-up and had trouble grabbing the ball off the glass.
Sophomore Nik Stauskas provided some good defense early, and he tied it in transition when he found the corner and nailed a triple. He also worked the glass in playing a great all-around game early.
Robinson III continued to be aggressive taking the ball to the hole, making two of four free throws on consecutive takes on which he was fouled. Horford, though, picked up his second foul at 14:00, replaced by Max Bielfeldt.
Freshman Zak Irvin provided a spark in hitting two triples, the first off the glass (didn't call bank), the second from 21 feet in transition to give the Wolverines a 15-12 lead.
John Gage kept Stanford close, his second making it 17-15 before Robinson III finished an alley-oop from freshman point guard Derrick Walton, Jr. The Cardinal brought out the 2-3 zone and U-M's offense went a bit stagnant. The defense, though, was solid. The big men made it tough for Stanford to finish around the rim, bodying without fouling, and limited the Cardinal to one shot. Stanford only managed three offensive rebounds in the stanza.
A two-hand Stauskas jam on a transition pass from sophomore Caris LeVert made it 22-15 at 5:45. A 3-for-15 start from beyond three-point range prevented a bigger lead. Robinson finally cashed in, rattling one home for a 25-17 lead at 4:30, but six straight from Stanford inside made cut it to two before Irvin countered with a three on a pass from Stauskas.
The half ended 30-27, Michigan. Robinson III led the Wolverines with 11 points and three rebounds, Irvin added nine on three triples, Stauskas five points and three assists and Morgan four points and four rebounds. U-M shot only 5-for-18 from three-point range and 10-for-25 overall.
Stanford quickly worked inside for four points, with Walton countering with a jumper and Morgan with two free throws on a drive from the high post to keep the Wolverines ahead by three.
Stefan Nastic kept the Cardinal close by pounding away inside against Morgan. Anthony Brown countered a Stauskas three-point play in transition. Irvin nailed his fourth triple to make it 42-38.
The Wolverines couldn't pull away. Robinson missed two free throws to make him 4-for-8 from the stripe at 12:15, U-M clinging to a 46-40 lead. Stauskas finally tripled at 11:35 to make it 49-42, giving him 13 for the game, and he hit two free throws after being fouled in transition to expand the lead to 51-42.
Morgan scored inside after blowing a lay-up to make it 53-44, but he picked up his fourth foul just after Horford picked up his fourth. Albrecht busted Stanford's zone with a 22-footer to give the Wolverines their biggest lead, 56-46, at 7:30.
Bielfeldt played extended minutes down the stretch, but he picked up his fourth foul at 6:30. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, starting a stretch in which the Wolverines went cold. Stanford cut it to 56-50 before Stauskas finally hit two free throws at 5:24 after drawing Nastic's fifth foul.
Still, U-M couldn't put it away. Stauskas missed a triple before Stanford countered with a lay-up to cut it to 60-56 with 4:00 remaining. LeVert turned it over before rebounding to swat a transition lay-up at the other end. Albrecht found Horford for a dunk, but Horford picked up his fifth foul at 2:56 and spent the remainder of the game on the bench.
A Stauskas turnover gave Stanford the ball back down 62-58 with 2:34 remaining. Jason Randall drove and finished against a 2-3 zone to cut it to two, setting up a down to the wire finish.
Albrecht made two free throws, countered by one from Randall with 1:33 remaining. Morgan kept a Stauskas miss alive and the Wolverines got the ball back with 1:10 remaining, up three. LeVert, though, missed two free throws, continuing U-M's struggles at the line (16-24 at that point), and Morgan picked up his fifth foul and gave the Cardinal a shot at two free throws on the other end. They made one, making it 64-62 with 43.6 seconds remaining.
Robinson drove and scored at 14.1, but the Wolverines let Randall drive and finish, fouling him with nine seconds remaining. Randall hit the free throw to make it 66-65. Stauskas, completing a 9-for-9 night from the line made it 68-65 with 7.8 seconds remaining. Randall missed a contested triple, and the Wolverines escaped with a three-point win, their seventh victory of the year.
Stauskas led all scorers with 19 points, Robinson notched 17 points and seven boards, Irvin added 12 points and six rebounds and Morgan notched eight points and five boards.