Michigan's offense - and especially point guard Derrick Walton Jr. - clicked on all cylinders early, Walton nailing two threes on his way to the Wolverines' first eight points that gave U-M an 8-0 lead in an 80-67 win over Penn State. The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, turned it over on four of their first five possessions in allowing Michigan to pull away early.
It was 12-6 at the first TV timeout after finishes inside from Jordan Morgan and Nik Stauskas on strong cuts. Stauskas notched two early assists on pick and rolls in continuing his success in that role; his first triple pushed the Wolverines' lead to 19-10 at 12:00.
PSU wouldn't go away, scoring five straight to cut it to four. The Nittany Lions had success in transition, especially, for most of their points.
U-M, meanwhile, continued to stick with the pick and roll. Stauskas notched four first half helpers, part of a 12-assist effort by the Wolverines. Glenn Robinson III, however, struggled, missing a number of finishes he'd normally make. He was zero for his first five from the floor and didn't score until 4:20 remained in the half
Another pick and roll from Stauskas to Morgan resulted in two free throws and Michigan's biggest lead, 25-16, at the seven-minute mark. A Spike Albrecht triple from the top made it 28-18 at the 5:30 mark.
Robinson III finally heated up. He scored seven points, including a triple, to balloon the lead to 37-25. A Stauskas triple made it 40-27 at 1:33.
Stauskas missed the front end of the 1-and-1, however, leading to a triple on the other end, part of a 6-0 PSU run to end the half at 40-33.
Walton finished the half with 12, Stauskas added eight, Robinson III seven and Morgan six. LeVert and Stauskas dished four assists each.
PSU scored the first four points of the second half to close within 40-37, and we had a ball game. LeVert, though, hit a critical triple at the 17:45 mark to push the lead back to six.
The defense, though, continued to struggle, allowing PSU to easily get to the rim. The Nittany Lions closed to within 45-43 and missed a three that would have given them the lead before Stauskas made two free throws at 15:38 to push the lead back to four. Stauskas cashed in a huge triple after a PSU hoop to make it 50-45. The lead ballooned to 10 on four points from Horford and a three-point play in transition by LeVert following a Robinson III steal.
Crisler Center exploded when LeVert found Robinson III on the alley-oop in transition to make it 59-47 at 12:05. Two Stauskas free throws and a Robinson triple made it 64-49 at 10:40, and the rout appeared on.
The Wolverines pushed the lead to 66-50, but PSU made a run, scoring the next four. Albrecht missed an opportunity to expand the lead with two missed triples from the corner, but Walton hit a two from the top of the key to keep PSU at bay.
The Nittany Lions chipped away and cut it to eight, 70-62, on a D.J. Newbill triple in transition at 5:48. Walton's drive and lefty finish pushed the lead back to 10, his 15th and 16th points.
Stauskas continued his strong play in continuously taking the ball to the rim. He drove and finished through traffic to make it 75-64 at 3:40, giving him 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. Another pick and roll assist from Stauskas to Horford made it 77-65 at the 3:10 mark and all but put it away. Free throws down the stretch sealed it.
Stauskas led all scorers with his 21 points. Walton Jr. finished with 16, Robinson III 15 and five rebounds, Horford 11 and seven rebounds and LeVert six and five assists.