Trey Burke opened Michigan's 83-66 win over Penn State with a triple from the top, but PSU had come to play in a first round Big Ten Tournament game. The Nittany Lions ripped off 14 straight points before the Wolverines, led by freshman big man Mitch McGary's first half double double (10 points, 10 rebounds in 13 minutes), rallied.
Redshirt junior power forward Jordan Morgan struggled from the outset, failing to score on four consecutive touches down low. McGary was the spark the Wolveirnes needed, though, fueling an 11-0 run that brought the teams even at the 11:53 mark.
U-M controlled play for most of the remainder of the half despite shooting poorly. The Wolverines were 13-for-38 from the floor, including five-for-16 between junior Tim Hardaway Jr. (eight points) and Burke (eight points, two assists). Two triples by freshman Nik Stauskas on four attempts and McGary's play helped keep the Wolverines a step ahead.
Stauskas' second three-pointer, from the corner at 3:23, gave the Wolverines a nine-point lead and made it seem as though U-M was primed for a blowout. Penn State point guard D.J. Newbill, though, kept the Nittany Lions in it. Burke struggled to guard hi off the dribble and Newbill repeatedly got into the lane.
Big man Sasa Borovnjak scored 10 points early, mainly on the pick and roll, but Newbill was the primariy catlyast. He went for 12 points in 20 minutes and had a hand in the last seven points of the half that cut Michigan's lead to 35-33 at the break.
Freshman Glenn Robinson III was 0-for-4 from the field and had a hand on several offensive rebounds - rather than control them, though, he settled for unsuccessful tips.
Robinson III started the scoring with a steal and a dunk, and he notched a second steal on the defensive end. Morgan, though, missed yet another lay-up, and Jermaine Marshall banked a three to tie it at 40 less than three minutes into the half.
McGary immediately replaced Morgan. Burke answered with a triple of his own from the corner on the next possession, but U-M continued to struggle on the defensive end, especially with rebounding. The Nittany Lions got easy putback after easy putback and answered a few, short Tim Hardaway jumpers to keep pace, down only 48-45 at 14:14.
Hardaway showed no confidence in his three-point shot on the next few possessions, passing up a few wide open looks before taking one - and missing. Morgan, back in, cleaned it up and finished. He gave it back on the defense end in allowing a drive and finish.
Morgan sat for Jon Horford when he picked up his third foul at 13:00. Horford tipped in a Burke miss to expand the lead to seven, 54-47, at 12:30, and to 56-47 at 11:49 on two free throws.
Horford continued to play well, swatting a shot and rebounding on the defensive end and finishing an and-one at the other end to make it 62-47 at 10:23 - a similar position as its game a few weeks ago with the Nittany Lions, up 15 with 10 minutes to go, only this time the Wolverines added to the lead. It was 64-48 on a Hardaway steal and dunk with 9:40 remaining.
Burke's drive and pull-up jumper at the shot clock buzzer was indicative of U-M's patience down the stretch. That made it 68-52 at 7:59. A Stauskas drive and finish, and one, made it 71-52 at 6:50.
The Wolverines made 14 of their first 20 shots in the second half (70 percent) to seize control. PSU was never close after the 10-minute mark.
Burke led the Wolverines with 21 points, McGary finished with 10 and 11 rebounds, Stauskas and Hardaway notched 15 each and Horford 11 points and five rebounds in 10 minutes.
The Wolverines will face Wisconsin Friday at 2:30 in a quarterfinal game.
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