Michigan sophomore point guard might have played the worst 20-minute stretch of his career in the first half of U-M's 71-56 win over South Dakota State. That was the bad news. The good news - the Wolverines still led 30-26 at the break despite struggling mightily in the half court.
Michigan struggled to get anything offensively off the dribble in the first half, settling for contested jump shots. Fortunately for them, junior Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a pair of triples and made another wide open look in transition to help counter the Jackrabbits' 11-0 run early in the half. The Wolverines trailed by as many as five, 12-7, but tied it at 16-16 on a Hardaway Jr. triple and took a 27-19 lead with a 15-3 run fueled by their play in transition.
Freshman big man Mitch McGary, starting for struggling redshirt junior Jordan Morgan, provided the energy on both ends in the first five minutes. He scored seven points and grabbed four boards in 17 minutes.
Michigan couldn't sustain it, in large part to Burke's struggles. He went 0-for-7 in the first half and scored only two points on a pair of free throws, notching three assists and two turnovers.
McGary, meanwhile, struggled from the line once again, going only 1-for-4.
Hardaway's fourth triple of the half, a bomb from the top with 45 seconds remaining, made it 30-24, but a missed out of bounds call gave the Jackrabbits one more possession with a second on the shot clock. Brayden Carlson knocked down a jumper to cut it to 30-26 at halftime, a Michigan lead that would have been a deficit had Hardaway not gone 4-for-5 from long range.
Glenn Robinson III notched four points and five rebounds for the Wolverines. Despite his offensive struggles, Burke did a solid job defensively on SDSU high scoring point guard Nate Wolters, holding him to 2-for-8 shooting and four points.
Burke hit Robinson on drive and kick to open the second half scoring, a triple from the corner that put the Wolverines up 33-26. Robinsoin got a bounce on a similar play that extended the lead to 10.
Robinson made it 41-30 with yet another triple with just under 17 minutes remaining, but the Wolverines couldn't gain any more separation. Stauskas missed badly on the Wolverines' next two trips, and the Jackrabbits continued to match U-M bucket for bucket.
It was 49-41 when the officials inexplicably swallowed the whistles on a Burke rebound in which he was undercut, falling violently to the floor. He went to the locker room before returning shortly afterward.
SDSU cut it to six before a Stauskas drive and-one and Hardaway jumper from the top pushed the lead back to 11. Hardaway nailed a triple on a dish from Burke to make it 57-43 at the nine-minute mark.
Michigan showed a lack of patience and didn't rebound well from the 8:00 mark to 5:40. SDSU was still in it after Jordan Dykstra hit a triple to make it 61-50 with 5:40 remaining.
Stauskas, though, found McGary for a slam and McGary's fourth straight point to put the Wolverines back up by 13, 63-50. A McGary steal and dunk following a Jackrabbits jumper and a Hardaway Jr. steal and finish in transition made it 67-52 at 3:30 and all but assured the Wolverines would make the round of 32.
Hardaway and Robinson scored 21 apiece to lead the Wolverines. McGary added 13 points and nine rebounds, Stauskas eight points and Burke six points and seven assists.
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