Michigan basketball team takes over in 2nd half, rolls to 62-46 win at Nebraska
Updated 11:07 p.m.
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Michigan's first half Wednesday night was borderline miserable.
The second half, though, went down as borderline perfect.
The 22nd-ranked Michigan basketball team shot a blistering 76.2 percent from the floor after halftime, earning its first-ever Big Ten win against host Nebraska with a 62-46 victory at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
"The key was confidence, all around," Michigan senior co-captain Stu Douglass said. "You don't have to make flashy plays, just play the game the right way.
"The simple way, the way we've been talking about every day."
It was easily Michigan's best shooting half of the season and effectively wiped away a 32 percent performance before the break.
The 16-point victory was also the largest Big Ten road win Michigan has earned under Michigan coach John Beilein.
"We gave them permission to make shots, it's okay," Beilein joked afterward. "It's okay for three or four or five guys to make shots, and we can do that."
The win was Michigan's second road victory of the season, and first ever in Lincoln. The Wolverines dropped their only two previous meetings at Nebraska, by one point in 1964 and by 13 points in 1956.
Michigan still hasn't suffered consecutive losses this season, and moves to 18-7 overall, 8-4 in Big Ten play.
Senior co-captain Zack Novak, who scored his 1,000th-career point in the first half, finished with a team-high 14 points for Michigan, while Douglass finished with 13 points.
Trey Burke added 12 points and seven assists, while Matt Vogrich finished with nine points on three second-half 3-pointers.
The Cornhuskers, who shot 18-for-46 from the floor as a team, were paced by Bo Spencer's 13 points.
Nebraska (11-12, 3-9) has lost four of its last five.
"It's very disappointing, frustrating, disappointing, whatever you want to call it," Nebraska coach Doc Sadler said. "But it's life. ... Come out to watch us practice if you want to ask me questions about frustration or quit.
"Come watch us practice, see how many times they're on the floor and see how much enthusiasm they've got. They're giving me everything they've got and I'm proud of them."
The first half was rough, to say the least.
Nebraska began the game 1-for-12 from the floor and didn't finish the half much better, starting out 5-for-23 shooting.
Michigan didn't exactly put on a show itself.
Tim Hardaway Jr. went 0-for-7 in the first half, and the Wolverines put up an 8-for-23 performance early before settling for a 22-15 lead at halftime.
Nebraska continued its cold shooting to begin the second. Michigan, however, opted for a change.
"We (started) playing inside-out (in the second half), we've got to do more of that," Novak said. "We came in as a team (at halftime) and just said 'we're settling a little too much.'
"So we said 'let's just go to the basket more a little bit.'"
The message was well-received.
The Wolverines got a pair of easy layups from Jordan Morgan, a driving score from Hardaway and a 3-pointer in the corner from Burke to cap off a 13-2 surge, opening up a 35-19 edge with 14 minutes to play.
The lead grew to 18 two minutes later when Hardaway found Novak inside for a layup, giving Michigan a 15-2 run and a 7-for-9 shooting start to open the second.
The lead grew as high as 26 points as the Wolverines hit 10 of their first 11 two-point shots after halftime. They finished the second half 16-for-21 from the floor, and 24-for-46 on the day.
Michigan's shooting performance came on the heels of two sub-40-percent shooting efforts on the road, the first a 15-point loss at Ohio State, the second a 10-point loss at Michigan State.
"Michigan State and Ohio State are tremendous defensive teams, you only see about 10 or 20 teams like that in the country," Beilein said. "We moved the ball and we learned a lot from (those games) and we didn't force.
"We took good shots (in the second half)."
Hardaway finished with six points after his poor start, but did go 3-for-4 from the floor with three assists after halftime. Morgan added eight points and six rebounds in 31 minutes.
Though Michigan still sits without a losing streak 25 games into the season, the Wolverines haven't won two in a row since Jan. 11.
The team will get a chance to change that at home Sunday against Illinois (1 p.m., CBS).
"We know we're taking steps forward, we've just got to put those pieces together and not take steps back," Douglass said. "We don't want to keep winning and losing, then winning and losing."
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