Zavier Simpson stuffed the stat sheet Sunday night with 24 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals as No. 2 Michigan stayed unbeaten with an easy 80-60 Big Ten Conference win over short-handed Northwestern in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The win gave the Wolverines (17-0, 6-0 Big Ten) their best start in program history, breaking a tie with the 2012-13 team that started 16-0. Overall, Michigan has won 31 of its last 32 games.
Jon Teske scored 17 points, all in the first half, and hauled in 11 rebounds for the Wolverines. Charles Matthews added 13 points, and freshman Ignas Brazdeikis chipped in 11 as Michigan canned 52.5 percent from the field and hit 11 of 27 3-point attempts.
Dererk Pardon tallied 20 points on 10-of-16 shooting to pace the Wildcats (10-7, 1-5), and Ryan Taylor netted 15, going 4 of 7 on 3-pointers. But Northwestern simply didn’t have enough punch to make a game of it without leading scorer Vic Law.
The 6-foot-7 senior, averaging more than 17 points per game, sat out with a lower-body injury. The Wildcats hung around for about 12 minutes before the Wolverines’ stifling defense teamed with efficient offense to stretch the lead to 22 by halftime.
Pardon’s dunk at the 9:32 mark of the first half drew Northwestern within 21-18, but Michigan blew it open shortly thereafter. Isaiah Livers and Jordan Poole drilled 3-pointers to start a game-deciding 29-10 run that lasted the final 9:15 of the half.
The advantage reached double figures for good as Simpson stroked a 3-ball with 4:45 left in the half to make it 34-22. Teske rattled off 11 straight points in a 2:29 span, and Simpson’s steal and layup just before halftime made it 50-28 at intermission.
Northwestern came as close as 13 points about halfway through the second half, but Simpson scored four quick points to push the lead back to 17, 65-48, with 8:44 to play.
—Field Level Media