Michigan picked up a much needed win on Saturday night defeating Northwestern 68-59 at Crisler Arena. Besides snapping a 3 game losing streak the win was John Beilein’s 500th NCAA win, congratulations to Coach Beilein.
DeShawn Sims got Michigan going early by scoring the first 9 points for the Wolverines. With 14:12 left to play in the first half Kelvin Grady knocked down a triple and gave Michigan a 14-11 lead and they would not surrender that lead the rest of the game. Moments later Grady followed that up with another triple. Michigan cruised into halftime with a 33-24 lead.
Laval Lucas-Perry started things off for Michigan in the second half by draining a three pointer and on Michigan’s next possession LL Cool P dropped a dime on Kelvin Grady, who tripled to put Michigan up by 10 points.
The Wildcats had sliced the Michigan lead to 4 points at 41-37 with 15:00 left in the game. Stu Douglass responded by knocking down back to back triples. Douglass continued his fine play of late by scoring a lay up on a fast break and on Michigan’s next possession he feed Zack Novak who drilled a three pointer that put Michigan up by 13 points. Zack Gibson scored Michigan’s final field goal of the game with 8:43 left in the half. Northwestern was unable to take advantage of that and was not able to cut into the lead. Meanwhile the Wolverines shot 12-15 on free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
Michigan featured a balanced scoring attack with 6 players scoring at least 7 points. Sims led Michigan with 15 points, 7 boards, and 2 blocks. Manny Harris struggled to score for the second game in a row but he did finish with a nice stat line, 8 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Zack Novak scored 7 points to go along with 7 boards and 2 assists.
Inside the numbers: Michigan hammered Northwestern on the boards 40-20. Michigan had an outstanding 18 assists on 22 field goals and only turned the ball over 8 times. Michigan’s bench out scored Northwestern’s bench 22-6.
The road to 21 wins: With the win Michigan improves to 14-6 (4-4). This was a must win according to my projections. Next up for Michigan is back to back road games, at Ohio State and at Purdue. To keep pace Michigan will need to steal a win at one of those tough road venues.
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