UM rolls past North­west­ern for 17th straight vic­tory

The Detroit News - - SPORTS - BY JAMES HAWKINS The De­troit News

Ann Ar­bor — The ac­com­plish­ments con­tinue to pile up for Michi­gan.

After record­ing a sin­gle-sea­son pro­gram-record 33 vic­to­ries and win­ning back-to-back Big Ten tour­na­ment ti­tles for the first time last sea­son, the Wolver­ines made his­tory once again on Sun­day night.

This time, No. 2 Michi­gan pounded North­west­ern, 80-60, at Crisler Cen­ter to sweep the reg­u­lar-sea­son se­ries and set the pro­gram record for best start at 17-0.

The Wolver­ines (6-0 Big Ten) sur­passed the pre­vi­ous mark of 16-0 set by the 1985-86 and 2012-13 teams to take sole pos­ses­sion of the feat and move into a class of their own.

In or­der do so, though, Michi­gan had to get past the one team that pushed it to the limit all sea­son and needed to dodge a 3-point bul­let at the buzzer to es­cape with a win on Dec. 4.

Ju­nior cen­ter Jon Teske and ju­nior guard Zavier Simp­son made sure the Wolver­ines had no trou­ble with the Wild­cats this time around. Teske tied a ca­reer high with 17 points — all com­ing in the first half — and 11 re­bounds, while Simp­son set ca­reer highs with 24 points and five made 3-point­ers for Michi­gan, which shot 52.5 per­cent (31-for-59) from the field.

The duo had ev­ery­thing click­ing on both ends and helped Michi­gan roar out to a 10-0 lead, with Teske bury­ing two jumpers and Simp­son hit­ting a run­ning hook shot to force a time­out less than three min­utes into the game.

North­west­ern even­tu­ally set­tled down, set­tled in and be­gan dig­ging out of the hole. The Wild­cats cut the deficit to two while us­ing the same de­fen­sive strat­egy against Simp­son by dar­ing him to shoot from deep, which worked on his first two at­tempts.

But Simp­son re­sponded by bury­ing his next two deep ball shots, with the sec­ond make com­ing dur­ing a 21-6 flurry over the fi­nal 5 min­utes, 30 min­utes of the half that helped Michi­gan take a 22-point lead at the break.

And it was Simp­son and Teske who starred dur­ing the blitz. Fol­low­ing his sec­ond made 3-pointer, Simp­son threw a beau­ti­ful out­let pass to fresh­man for­ward Ig­nas Brazdeikis (11 points) that led to a foul and free throw.

Teske then stole the show by scor­ing 11 straight points for Michi­gan, high­lighted by three made 3-point­ers. His last two came in back-to-back fash­ion from atop the key within a 29-sec­ond span to spark a 10-0 spurt to close the half.

Red­shirt ju­nior wing Charles Matthews (13 points) fol­lowed with a fast-break dunk off a steal to send the sell­out crowd into a frenzy be­fore Simp­son capped it with a steal and fast-break layup as Michi­gan jet­ted into the break with a 50-28 cush­ion.

That proved to be a worstcase sce­nario for North­west­ern (10-7, 1-5) con­sid­er­ing the Wild­cats were with­out lead­ing scorer Vic Law (lower body), who tal­lied 19 points and seven re­bounds in the first meet­ing be­tween the teams.

North­west­ern big man Der­erk Par­don, who gave Michi­gan fits last month, did what he could and fin­ished with 20 points on 10-for-16 shoot­ing de­spite be­ing dou­bled in the post at times.

After Michi­gan pushed its lead to 24, Par­don con­verted two layups and a dunk dur­ing a 15-4 run where the Wolver­ines’ of­fense dried up and could only muster nine points over the 10 min­utes of the sec­ond half.

Even with the rough stretch, the Wolver­ines still com­fort­ably led by dou­ble dig­its and were never in se­ri­ous jeop­ardy as the clos­est the Wild­cats could claw within was 61-48 with 9:30 re­main­ing.

Tony Ding/As­so­ci­ated Press

Charles Matthews was one of four Wolver­ines in dou­ble fig­ures, fin­ish­ing with 13 points.

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