Michigan basketball team survives overtime scare from Northwestern, 66-64
Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
Updated 9:44 p.m.
Trey Burke hasn't been afraid of much this season.
On Wednesday, that trend continued.
The Michigan basketball freshman point guard racked up eight of his 19 points in overtime, including the final eight of the game for the Wolverines, as No. 13 Michigan survived a scare from visiting Northwestern, 66-64.
"The kid's making plays, he's got the ball at the end of the game and we're all confident in him," Michigan senior captain Zack Novak said. "You can't faze him.
"He's a tough kid."The victory gives Michigan its 11th home win of the season and puts the Wolverines at 14-3, 4-1 in the Big Ten. The 4-1 league mark is the best start the Wolverines have had in the John Beilein era.
Burke, who played every minute of the game, finished his night with 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Beilein did not make Burke available to the media after the game, telling reporters that he instructed his freshman point guard to head straight for the "cold tub" for recovery following a 45-minute performance.
"(He'd) better be in that cold tub," Beilein said afterward. "I was trying to get him away from you all a second ago."
Tim Hardaway Jr. also played the entire regulation and overtime period for Michigan, finishing with 19 points and six rebounds.
John Shurna and Drew Crawford paced Northwestern (11-5, 1-3 Big Ten) with 21 and 20 points, respectively.
After trailing by as many as 10 in the second half, Michigan found some life midway through the half, ripping off a 10-0 spurt that was capped by a thunderous two-handed flush by Novak to give the Wolverines their first lead since early in the first half at 46-44.
The Crisler Center crowd reached its loudest point of the evening, prompting Northwestern coach Bill Carmody to call three timeouts in less than two minutes.
"I was just trying to stop the noise," Carmody said.
Northwestern calmed the storm, though, getting three straight buckets from Crawford, Shurna and point guard Dave Sobolewski to go back up four at 50-46 with 8:16 left.
"That is a really talented team," Beilein said of Northwestern. "They're going to win a lot of games if they stay healthy."
The Wildcats held onto the lead for the next six minutes, but Michigan had one more answer, as a Hardaway 3-pointer knotted things back up at 54-all with 2:40 left.
Neither team was able to move in front, and the Wildcats found themselves with a chance to steal the game with possession and 10 seconds to go. But Novak pinned a Crawford jumper attempt, prompting a travel and a turnover.
Michigan was unable to get a shot off in the final second, forcing overtime.
In the extra session, Burke gave Michigan a two-point lead at the 2:11 mark with a jumper in the lane, but the Wolverines shot themselves in the foot seconds later when Jordan Morgan was whistled for a technical foul underneath after wrestling with Sobolewski.
Northwestern failed to take advantage, though, as Crawford hit only one free throw and Sobolewski clanged a jumper on the Wildcats' ensuing possession.
Burke and Sobolewski then traded a pair of foul shots before the Michigan freshman hit two more free throws, making it 64-61 with 32.6 left.
After Michigan conceded a Crawford dunk with seven seconds left, Burke made it eight straight points with two more free throws, making it 66-63 Wolverines.
The Wolverines nearly had another disaster on the final possession of the game when Hardaway was whistled for fouling Alex Marcotullio on a 3-pointer from the corner.
Marcotullio missed the first, made the second and missed the third -- allowing Michigan to survive with a two-point win.
"Good teams find ways to win," Novak said. "I wouldn't say we snuck out because they didn't make some shots, we forced that.
"We earned that win."
Stu Douglass finished with 10 points off the bench for Michigan, which suffered through a poor shooting night overall.
The Wolverines made just 28.1 percent of their shots during the first half before finishing 22-for-66 (33.3 percent) for the game. They went 15-for-16 from the foul line, but 7-for-30 from 3-point range.
After allowing the Wildcats to shoot 60.9 percent in the first half, Michigan's defense stymied Northwestern the rest of the way -- not allowing a field goal in the final eight minutes of regulation, and holding the Wildcats to 35 percent shooting in the second half.
The Wolverines return to action Saturday (1 p.m., Big Ten Network) when they travel to Iowa.
It'll be beginning of a rather difficult stretch for the Wolverines, as Michigan plays four of its next five away from the Crisler Center.
But, that can wait.
Wednesday, the Wolverines were just happy to survive another test in the Big Ten.
"In the Big Ten, you have to win really, really close games," Hardaway said. "And tonight shows how hard the Big Ten really is."
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