Hardaway, Burke and Smotrycz hit 20-point mark in Michigan basketball team's 90-80 win over Oakland
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
AUBURN HILLS -- The Michigan basketball team figured it'd get a test on "the road" from fast-paced Oakland on Saturday.
The Wolverines were right.
But aside from one shaky first-half stretch, Michigan was up to the challenge, beating the speedy Golden Grizzlies at their own game for the final 20 minutes.
Tim Hardaway Jr. led four Wolverines in double figures with 21 points and No. 20 Michigan recovered after blowing a double-digit first-half lead to score a 90-80 win over Oakland at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
"I was happy the way we handled adversity," Michigan coach John Beilein said following the win. "The end of the first half, we really didn't play Michigan basketball.
"We played Michigan basketball in the second half."
The game was technically a home contest for Oakland, and was the final installment of a four-year series between the two schools. During the four-game set, Michigan went 4-0, and is now 7-1 all-time against the Golden Grizzlies.After scoring just three points in the first half, Hardaway exploded to carry the Wolverines in the second -- knocking down four second-half 3-pointers to lead a Wolverine squad that went 19-for-27 from the floor after the break.
"We were just reading the defense and running our plays," Hardaway said. "They were making some mistakes, and we countered."
Michigan's 58 second-half points were the most the team has scored in one half this season. The Wolverines also had their best 3-point shooting day of the year, going 15-for-28 from deep for the game, including 10-for-16 after halftime.
Michigan sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz finished with a career-high 20 points to go along with nine rebounds and freshman point guard Trey Burke turned in 20 points and nine assists, seven after halftime.
The performances by Hardaway, Burke and Smotrycz marked the first time Michigan had three players score at least 20 points since Dec. 11, 2002.
"We just wanted to take care of the ball," Smotrycz said. "We knew we could play their style of ball and run with them."
Oakland -- which averages 80.3 points per game -- was paced by senior guard Reggie Hamilton, who finished with a game-high 28 points, including a 12-for-12 performance at the foul line.
Former Michigan guard Laval Lucas-Perry, now a senior at Oakland, finished with 14 points for the Golden Grizzlies (6-4).
After blowing a 14-point lead due to turnover woes in the first half, the Wolverines (7-2) found themselves in a tie game at the break.
Oakland kept the pressure on early in the second, answering Michigan bucket-for-bucket to keep the game tied at 49-all after a pair of Travis Bader free throws with 12:11 to go.
Michigan found its stroke from there, though.
Hardaway woke up from his first-half slumber with a pair of 3-pointers and Burke buried an NBA-distance triple with 9:01 to go, capping a 14-4 Wolverine run to make it 63-53 Michigan.
The Golden Grizzlies would trim the lead down to six after a pair of Hamilton free throws with 4:39 to go, but Hardaway would answer with a triple from the corner before Stu Douglass slammed home a breakaway jam to make it a 12-point game with just 3:19 to play.
Oakland wouldn't recover.
"(We were) just playing within the system of Michigan basketball and trusting it," Douglass said. "Teams like this score a bunch of points and we usually like to beat them 70-60 and play that gritty Big Ten style a little bit.
"But their defense allowed us to get a lot of open looks (and we made them)."
Douglass finished with 13 points on 4-for-7 shooting, scoring 11 after the break.
Michigan out-rebounded Oakland 36-28, and finished 31-for-54 from the floor overall.
The Wolverines started the game hot. A Smotrycz 3-pointer capped an early 10-0 run to put Michigan up 11 seven minutes in.
The lead would grow to as many as 14 after a pair of Zack Novak free throws made it 25-11 with 7:56 to play in the frame.
The rest of the half would belong to Oakland.
With Michigan plagued by first-half turnover trouble, the Golden Grizzlies went to work. Bader's 3-pointer with 2:45 to go cut the lead down to five before Lucas-Perry made it a four-point game one minute later with a 3-point play.
Bader then brought Oakland all the way back with a 3-pointer just before the first-half horn, leaving the score at 32-32.
Oakland shot just 10-for-29 from the floor in the first half, but Michigan countered with 10 turnovers over the game's first 20 minutes, six of which came during the Grizzlies' run.
Michigan returns to the floor Tuesday when it hosts Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Crisler Arena.
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