No. 4 Michigan shakes off sluggish start to outlast struggling Penn State, 79-71
And though the Wolverines looked lethargic for 40 minutes, they left Crisler Center with a win.
Right now, they'll take it.
Trey Burke finished with 29 points and Glenn Robinson III added 21 points and 10 rebounds as No. 4 Michigan outlasted struggling Penn State, 79-71.
The win snaps a two-game skid for Michigan (22-4, 9-4), who was pummeled on the road at Michigan State earlier in the week. Penn State (8-17, 0-13), meanwhile, remains winless in the Big Ten.
After having almost no energy to start the game, Michigan allowed the Nittany Lions to surge out to an eight-point lead in the first half.
The Wolverines slowly woke up along the way, tying the game up at the break before an alley-oop slam from Glenn Robinson III put a charge in the crowd and gave the Wolverines an eight-point edge with 14 minutes to go.
The Nittany Lions weren't done. Penn State climbed all the way back within one five minutes later. But Michigan stretched its edge back out to nine after a 7-2 run to finally give itself some separation.
The Wolverines never really pulled away in this one, relying on free throws late to salt things.
Jermaine Marshall and Sasha Borovnjak led Penn State with 17 points, while Nik Stauskas added 18 for Michigan.
-- Trey Burke had everything working with his shot, even if basically no one else did. Burke was Michigan's only source of offense in the first half. He finished with a season-high 29 points on 9 of 16 shooting. He added five assists and did not have a turnover.
-- Glenn Robinson III finally broke out of his recent funk with an energetic game, even if it was against a lowly team like Penn State. Robinson played above the rim all afternoon long, finishing alley-oops and inside dunks. A good sign for Michigan, without question.
-- Stauskas regained a bit of his scoring touch as well, going 5 of 9 from the field, 2 of 6 from 3-point range in the victory.
-- Michigan got to the foul line a ton in this one. Shots weren't falling, but at least the Wolverines were going to the basket with some type of a purpose -- going 27 of 35 from the foul line.
-- Michigan hosted a number of former stars this weekend for a Crisler Center rededication ceremony. Former star Glen Rice received a standing ovation during a media timeout.
-- Michigan's energy in the first half was awful. The Wolverines looked like they'd rather be anywhere but on the court, and allowed Penn State to play even for 20 minutes. A dreadful start, one that would have surely buried the team if they were playing anyone but Penn State.
-- Jordan Morgan returned to the starting lineup for the first time since late January, but he did next to nothing in the first half. Morgan picked up two early fouls and played just four minutes before the break.
-- Tim Hardaway Jr. continued to struggle with his shot. He went 1 of 11 from the floor at Michigan State on Tuesday, and was just 3 of 11 against Penn State with 8 points.
-- Defensively, Michigan still has a ton of work to do. Penn State was able to get into the lane with relative ease all night long. Rough stuff for Michigan.
ISSUE OF THE DAY: REVISITED
Did Michigan find its lost swag against Penn State?
I doubt it. The Wolverines didn't exactly pummel the Nittany Lions at home Sunday, but a win's certainly a win at this point.
Michigan will now have a week off before hosting Illinois on Sunday -- and it looks like the Wolverines will need it.
Is Michigan's week off a good thing or a bad thing at this point? Do the Wolverines need the rest or do they need to get back to work and start working out some of these kinks?
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