January 6, 2018 / 7:41 PM / 9 months ago

Michigan uses balanced attack to beat Illinois

Michigan put six players in double figures Saturday, using a second-half rally to subdue Illinois 79-69 at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Moritz Wagner led the way with 14 points, while Duncan Robinson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each scored 13. Reserve forward Isaiah Livers netted 12 points as the Wolverines (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten) improved to 9-0 at home. Backup guard Jordan Poole added 11 points and Charles Matthews chipped in 10.

Kipper Nichols came off the bench to tally a game-high 17 points for the Fighting Illini (10-7, 0-4). Reserve Greg Eboigbodin scored 10.

Illinois controlled play for most of the first half, using physical defense to slow down Michigan. Nichols’ dunk at the 9:49 mark gave it a 17-9 lead, and it maintained that eight-point lead until Livers’ slam capped a 12-2 spurt that made it 25-23 Wolverines.

The Illini withstood that run, though, and pushed back. Nichols’ 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining in the half enabled them to take a 34-31 edge to the locker room.

However, Michigan put its stamp on the game to start the second half, using a 16-6 run to establish a 47-40 lead when Poole sank a 3-pointer with 14:13 left in the game. Matthews’ 3-pointer with 9:38 remaining gave the Wolverines their first double-digit lead of the day at 59-48.

Michigan kept Illinois at bay for the game’s remainder, stretching its winning streak to seven games as it canned 51 percent of its field goal attempts and hit eight 3-pointers. That marked the 14th time in 17 games it has connected on eight or more 3s.

The Illini shot decently from the field at 48.2 percent, although they were a miserable 3-of-20 on 3-pointers. Illinois won the rebounding battle 31-27, but hurt itself with 17 turnovers that the Wolverines converted into 17 points.

Michigan owned a 37-24 advantage in points off the bench and went 19 of 24 at the foul line, while the Illini were 12 of 14.

—Field Level Media

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