Minnesota was making a late charge and it looked for all the world as if the 16th-ranked Michigan Wolverines could succumb under the heat, even on their home floor in Ann Arbor. Then, Spike Albrecht, the smallest player on the floor, skied for an offensive rebound (yes, this happened) and found Jordan Morgan for a bucket to give the home team a 4-point lead with 3:43 to play.
From there, it was all Wolverines.
Sharp-shooter Nik Stauskas knocked down a mid-range jumper to extend the lead to 6, and after the aforementioned Jordan Morgan took a charge on the other end, Michigan put the game away with a rare, 3-point trip after Albrecht made two free throws and Minnesota committed a loose-ball foul to provide two more attempts at the charity stripe. Fittingly, the diminutive Albrecht swished through the final “dagger” to give the Wolverines a 10-point lead, and that was that in a 66-56 win.
It was yet another stand-out day from Big 10 Player of the Year favorite, Nik Stauskas, as the sophomore wing finished with 21 points, including 7-13 from the floor and 5-8 from 3-point range. Stauskas always seems to be at the center of Michigan’s offense, and Saturday was no different, as he also added 4 assists to go along with his scoring punch.
As a team, the Wolverines shot 50% from the field, but more importantly, they kept control of the ball in typical fashion. John Beilein’s offense is well-documented for outside shooting and ball security, and in this one, Michigan committed only 10 turnovers in the 40-minute contest. On the Minnesota side, Austin Hollins had a nice day with 16 points on 6 for 12 shooting, but it was too little to keep up with “Go Blue”.
With the win, Michigan clinches at least a share of the Big 10 title, and without their presumptive best player in Mitch McGary, that is an incredible accomplishment.