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Posted on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

Michigan basketball team takes 38 3-pointers, tops Northwestern in OT, 67-55

By Nick Baumgardner


Northwestern players couldn't stand watching the final moments of overtime.

Associated Press

EVANSTON, Ill. — At times, the Michigan basketball team seems content to live or die by the 3-point shot.

On Tuesday at Northwestern, the Wolverines shot plenty and lived to talk about it.

No. 11 Michigan went 14-for-38 from the 3-point line, hitting three in a row during a 9-0 run in overtime to dispatch the Wildcats, 67-55, at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

"We missed enough to where they stayed in the zone," Michigan senior guard Stu Douglass said of the team's 3-point barrage. "But we were getting looks, and we didn't change anything.

"The message was to keep shooting."

The 38 3-pointers attempted by Michigan was a season high.

It was Michigan's third road victory of the season and its fourth consecutive win overall. With Ohio State's win over Illinois on Tuesday, the Wolverines (21-7 overall, 11-4 Big Ten) remain tied with the Buckeyes for second place in the Big Ten.


Nick Baumgardner’s recap:

Michigan kept shooting. And shooting, and shooting and shooting. The Wolverines (21-7, 11-4) rattled off a season-high 38 attempts from 3-point range, connecting on 14 of them (including three straight early in overtime) to score a season sweep over the Wildcats (16-11, 6-9). The 38 attempts was easily a season-high for Michigan, and the 14 makes was one shy of a season-best.

Tuesday was far from Trey Burke's prettiest performance of the season. The freshman point guard went 6-for-16 from the floor and air-balled Michigan's final shot of regulation. But Burke knocked down four big triples and sparked a 9-0 start to overtime to push the Wolverines to their fourth straight win. Burke finished with a game-high 19 points in 45 minutes of action.

Entering the game, buzz around Evanston was that Tuesday's tilt against Michigan was one of the biggest regular-season game in Wildcat basketball history. It may have had a storybook billing, but it was far from a fairy tale finish. Northwestern is now 16-11 on the season and still has just two top-50 RPI wins on the season. With three games left, the Wildcats -- who have never made an NCAA Tournament -- are in danger of being left out in the cold again.

“We just came together as team down the stretch and hit everything we needed to.”
Michigan point guard Trey Burke


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Notebook: Michigan gets another lift from Matt Vogrich in foul-plagued win at Northwestern

Boxscore | Top 25 scores | Big Ten scores

Michigan State (22-5, 11-3) leads the conference and travels to Minnesota on Wednesday.

Freshman point guard Trey Burke dropped in a game-high 19 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. And, as he did during an overtime win over Northwestern in Ann Arbor earlier this season, Burke played the entire 45 minutes.

"Coach told us to keep shooting and they were going to start falling," said Burke, who is now tied with Tim Hardaway Jr. for the team's scoring lead at 14.3 points per game. "That goes to show how much he trusts his players, and how much he trusts us to take big shots and knock them down.

Hardaway finished with 14 points and Douglass 12 points for Michigan -- going a combined 6-for-16 from 3-point range.

"We shot 38 (3-pointers), didn't we," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "That's a lot. We're going to have to put ice on those arms on the way home."

Northwestern, meanwhile, may have watched its NCAA tournament bubble burst.

Billed as one of, if not the, biggest regular-season game in Wildcat basketball history, the loss leaves Northwestern 16-11 overall, 6-9 in Big Ten play. Northwestern has never advanced to the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats may be in bubble trouble, but Northwestern certainly has Beilein's respect.

"We've beaten them twice in overtime, and this league is so good," he said. "If we go 0-2 (against them), they're in the tournament.

"You watch them play, it's absolutely a thing of beauty."

After foul trouble to all three of its big men (Jordan Morgan, Evan Smotrycz and Blake McLimans) put Michigan in a seven-point first-half hole, the Wolverines slowly found their way back in the second half by playing defense.

Michigan held Northwestern to 3-of-11 shooting to begin the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 18-7 during that stretch, including an 8-1 spurt sparked by Douglass and Matt Vogrich triples to go back up 41-38 with 8:15 to play.

The lead changed hands four more times over the next seven minutes, with the Wildcats going back up by as many as four before back-to-back triples from Burke and Hardaway tied the game at 49-all at the 1:33 mark.

Northwestern then got two cracks at the basket after Reggie Hearn rebounded a Shurna miss, but the Wildcats couldn't take advantage, as Hearn bricked a 3-pointer with just 24.3 seconds to play.

Burke grabbed the rebound on the baseline, and he wisely called timeout before falling out of bounds.

Michigan couldn't capitalize, though, as Burke eventually airballed a last-second triple — sending the two teams to overtime for the second time this season.

"There was a lot of time for us in the timeout to think about what we were going to do," Burke said. "But we went back out there with a different mindset coming into overtime.

"We just executed."

The overtime session would feature no airballs, as Burke, Zack Novak and Douglass would hit consecutive 3-pointers, putting the Wolverines up 58-49 with 2:02 left.

The Wildcats never recovered and the smattering of Michigan fans began a "it's great to be a Michigan Wolverine" chant with 49 seconds to play.

"We'll take it," Novak said. "We'll take them anyway we can get them.

"You look at who they've beat here, we'll take this any way we can."

Michigan finished with just seven two-point baskets and shot 37.5 percent from the floor.

John Shurna led the Wildcats with 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting. Northwestern went 21-for-51 from the floor and committed 14 turnovers.

Vogrich, from nearby Lake Forest, Ill., finished with nine points off the bench for Michigan, all coming via the 3-point line.

Michigan returns to action Saturday when it hosts Purdue (6 p.m., BTN). The game will serve as the club's senior night and the Wolverines will honor Novak, Douglass, walk-on senior Corey Person and former big man-turned-volunteer assistant coach Ben Cronin.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Buster W.

Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Live and die by the three! They lived last night...barely.

Wally the Wolverine

Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

A "W"-is-a-"W" and I'll take it, but your opening line says it all Nick. I guess I'm the only one that is more than a little concerned that we couldn't establish an inside game against one of the conference cellar dwellars.


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

Whew a close call for a while there. I thought the defense was great.


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

PS - my big ten tournament tickets arrived in the mail this morning! We are moving from section 2 in the corner last year to mid-court this year. We are pretty excited with the seats!


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

Who would be playing point right now for Michigan if Ed DeChilles had stayed at Penn State and Alfonso Burke was at Penn State? I am not so sure that Cody Zellar has B1G TEN freshman of the year locked up just yet. I have to echo the comments on Coach Beilein's defensive game plan. Switch everything and really run them off the 3-point line. Northwestern is so similar in size to Michigan, when U-M switched it really didn't create any terrible miss matchs. Limiting Northwestern to 16 shots in the 2nd half and only 18 points was awesome.


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

What a great coaching job by Beilein! He threw a "switch absolutely every pick" defense against Northwestern - something that is almost never done and it completely caught NW off guard. It rendered their standard offense useless. There were many times when Shurna was being covered by 5'11" Trey Burke and they couldn't take advantage of it becuase they weren't prepared for such an unexpected scenario! Beilein for Big Ten coach of the year! Great team win! GO BLUE!

Jim Pryce

Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

Ugly win. But an ugly win is better than a pretty loss. It seemed they just turned on a switch in OT & game over. If they could have done that earlier the game would've been over in regulation. Go Blue!!


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 4:37 a.m.

That was awesome. What a game. Still cannot figure out how that was a double foul when northwestern's #30 threw morgan out of bounds. Anyway, amazing game from Burke. Huge showing from Stu. and the whole defensive game was huge. Go Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Two reasons for Jordan Morgan getting the double foul: #1) he had a hand full of jersey as he went to the floor #2) his reputation precedences after events earlier this season


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 4:06 a.m.

Good God ya'll! I don't want to know where this team would be without Trey Burke. That's not to say we don't have several talented players, but he's obviously been responsible for more than a few of our wins. He's the team MVP and, if he keeps it up, he might beat out Cody Zeller for B1G Freshman of the Year. Hardaway did some nice things in this game, but he needs to make those free throws. Something is going on in that kids head. There's a whole slew of talent inside of him but he thinks too much. If he can break some sort of barrier and bring his game to the next level, this team can make a Final Four run. No doubt about it. We've got some serious momentum, especially after that overtime performance. We should win these next three games. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but a loss to any of our remaining opponents would be unacceptable at this point. Just keep the turnovers to a minimum, keep playing good defense, improve our rebounding and get to the free throw line (and make free throws!) and good things should happen. Go Blue!


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 3:59 a.m.

I can't vote for just one MVP. Trey Burke was wonderful, but we needed the 4 threes by Stu Douglas and even the clutch three by Zack Novak in overtime. Vogrich kept us in it in the first half. Most of all, though, the incredible team defense was the MVP. Great communication and teamwork on D.


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.

not only should he be freshman of the year in the league, but he should also be first team all conference. trey burke is amazing.