Michigan Basketball: Wolverines Defeat Illinois, Remain Unbeaten at Home

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Michigan Basketball: Wolverines Defeat Illinois, Remain Unbeaten at Home
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines (19-7, 9-4 Big Ten) defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini by a score of 70-61.

With this impressive victory, Michigan moves into sole possession of second place in the Big Ten conference and remains unbeaten in Ann Arbor. They have now won 15 straight games at home, which is tied for their longest streak since the 1995-96 season.

The Wolverines were extremely efficient on Sunday, shooting 50 percent from the field and 7-of-16 from three-point range. 

Michigan was led by sophomore Tim Hardaway, Jr., who had been struggling mightily the past two games (he shot 19 percent combined against Michigan State and Nebraska). Against Illinois, he finished with 15 points (on 5-of-9 shooting), three assists and three rebounds.

Freshman sensation Trey Burke continued to impress against Illinois. He registered 14 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals. Burke has been averaging 35.2 minutes per game this season, which has certainly shortened his learning curve. He played in all but one minute on Sunday.

Zack Novak was impressive once again. The senior co-captain was one rebound away from a double-double; he finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe.

Novak was also in charge of guarding Illinois' talented shooting guard, Brandon Paul. Paul led the Fighting Illini with 21 points, but he also turned the ball over a game-high seven times.

The Wolverines were out-rebounded 31-25 and 12-4 on the offensive glass, but they did register 10 steals and forced 13 turnovers.  

Michigan enjoyed meaningful contributions from its bench, with Evan Smotrycz and Matt Vogrich adding 21 points and five steals combined.

The Michigan Wolverines will have nearly six days of rest, as their next game will be the much-anticipated rematch against No. 3 Ohio State at the Crisler Center.

Stay tuned for an in-depth pre-game analysis for this rivalry game.

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