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Posted on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

Michigan basketball team survives overtime scare from Northwestern, 66-64

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan senior Zack Novak, left, and freshman Trey Burke celebrate a play in the second half of a 66-64 overtime win against Northwestern at the Crisler Center on Wedensday.

Melanie Maxwell I

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."


Nick Baumgardner’s recap:

Trey Burke played the full 40 minutes, and then some. And Michigan needed every second of it. The fearless freshman scored the Wolverines final eight points in overtime, going a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He finished his night with 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Michigan didn't do much of anything particularly well, shooting 28.1 percent from the floor in the first half, struggling to rebound against the league's worst rebounding opponent and going just 7-for-30 from 3-point range. The Wolverines' defense, though, provided a needed spark. Michigan didn't allow a Northwestern field goal during the final eight minutes of regulation. Michigan did make its free throws, going 15-for-16 from the stripe. Northwestern went 10-for-15.

The Michigan football team was honored during the first half, with senior tri-captain David Molk leading the team onto the Crisler Center floor with the Sugar Bowl trophy hoisted above his head. Quarterback Denard Robinson and receiver Roy Roundtree watched the rest of the game from seats in the "Maize Rage" student section.

"Our defense bailed out the lack of shooting we had, and our point guard did a great job finishing the game from the foul line."
Michigan coach John Beilein.


Photo gallery

Trey Burke goes the distance, and bails out Michigan in the process

With video: Michigan football team honored during game

Boxscore | Top 25 scores | Big Ten scores
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."

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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Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

People seem surprised that Northwestern gave Michigan trouble. You shouldn't be. This is probably the best team Northwestern has had in...I don't know...ever? It sounds like I might have been the only Michigan fan in the country that was uneasy going into this game. Glad we pulled it out!


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

".....capped by a thunderous two-handed flush by Novak...." That's the first time I heard the term flush in this context. I thought it was a pretty awesome dunk though. But, I'm trying to figure out why Northwestern gives Michigan fits like they seem to do frequently. 33% shooting was hard to understand since NU's defense wasn't spectacular. If Michigan didn't get so many 2nd chances with offensive rebounds, we'd have lost. Thank goodness for Trey Burke and his foul shooting though. That pulled the game out for us. Michigan won a critical Big Ten home game and that's all that's important.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

Maybe the poor shooting percentage was attributable to not getting the "Big Game" James Worthy pregame warm up that they may have in the past.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

that was an awesome dunk. The fact that it was Novak who is well loved and never dunks made it all the sweeter. As for why Northwestern gave Michigan fits last night... well they are 28 in the RPI... the highest RPI ranked team Michigan beat all season - including Wisconsin & Memphis. The reputation of being a historically horrible program is keeping them out of the polls.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 6:10 a.m.

I wonder if Michigan's terrible start to the game was due to underestimating Northwestern's ability after a massive win against Wisconsin. Northwestern showed more energy and focus early in the game but Michigan's energy improved as the game progressed. Also I do not understand how Michigan could miss so many shots from under and around the basket. Morgan had been hitting 70% of his shots which are mostly in the paint but hit only 3 of 8 shots today, often going too strongly to the basket. Even Trey Burke had his difficulties hitting 5 of 17 shots including 1 of 6 from three point range. On the other hand kudos to Trey for hitting all of his eight free throws, many during overtime and which contributed considerably to Michigan's win. Hopefully, Michigan has learned that it must play with high energy and focus in every game, no matter who the opponent is and what happened in the previous game.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

Like I've hear Lou Holtz say, "You don't have to be the best team in the country every game, just the best team in the arena". Sounds like U-M weathered the storm in this one and came out on top, even though I kind of thought it wouldn't be this close.

Wally the Wolverine

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

While the win against Wisky was a nice W for us, it was not a "massive win" by any stretch of the imagination. Wisky had back-to-back losses to iowa and msu at a place they historically almost never lose - the Kohl Center. I predict Wisky may be one of those bubble teams when it's NCAA selection time.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 4:23 a.m.

And then there are teams like Syracuse

Rob Pollard

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 3:28 a.m.

Hi Nick, I know you're typing on deadline, but unless Novak entered Star Trek and is ready to zap someone, I'm sure he said "You can't faze him" not "You can't phase him" All that said, Trey Burke is the man.

Nick Baumgardner

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

You're right, Pollard. Good catch. Error's been fixed. Nick

Shlobodon Dobodon

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

lol umich is all about the luck this year.