Nik Stauskas began the game as he normally does, with the first 3 points of the game. He came out and gave the Wolverines the early lead, but that lead would soon evaporate.
Minnesota came out early and dominated the offensive end, quickly silencing the Crisler Center. Michigan is a team familiar with having to claw back after facing an early deficit, and Saturday night was no different. About halfway through the first half, Minnesota lead Michigan 13-7, and had a few of the Wolverine faithful wondering if Michigan was destined to have the same fate as their in-state rival, Michigan State, who dropped one at home to an Illinois team just minutes before tip-off.
But Michigan went on a 9-2 run to close the gap, and take the lead. Stauskas, lead that run, with help from Caris LeVert and Jordan Morgan.
Then the Glenn Robinson III alley-oop happened.
(Photo Credit to @UMichBBall on twitter)
And another Glenn Robinson III alley-oop happened.
Once Stauskas and LeVert connected with GRIII on the alley-oops, I thought it may have been a rout, UM lead 31-20 at half time, and Michigan was going to coast to an easy victory. However, that was not the case.
Minnesota came back out in the second half as a team that looked hungry. Like they were a team that didn’t want to be responsible for Michigan’s 2nd Big Ten Title in 3 years. After falling behind 41-30, Michigan began to play a bit sloppy, and turnovers, missed shots, and determination from the Gophers, the Wolverines found themselves only leading by 3, 44-41.
Ultimately, Michigan settled down and began making shots, lead by Robinson III, who scored 4 straight. There were big plays throughout, but none bigger than the Jordan Morgan offensive rebound that was ripped out of a few Gophers’ hands.
Spike Albrecht also contributed on the offensive boards, grabbing just his 5th offensive rebound of the year, but it came to be a big one as well. He found Morgan, who scored an easy layup, and UM never looked back. Albrecht also sealed the deal with a 3 of his own, which was the dagger to Minnesota and their hopes at making it to the NCAA tournament, at least it looks that way.
Michigan ended up beating Minnesota by 10, which clinched, at the very least, a share of the Big Ten title. Michigan has two remaining games on their schedule, playing Illinois, who just took out MSU as previously mentioned, and a tough Indiana team lead by Head Coach Tom Crean. If Michigan wins just one of the remaining 2, they will be the outright Big Ten Champions.