Surrounded by a raucous Minnesota crowd, No. 5 Michigan was able to hold off the No. 9 Golden Gophers at Williams Arena, 83-75, in a tight Big Ten battle Thursday night.
It was a thrilling first half. After Minnesota got off to a 13-10 lead, Michigan bounced back to take a 26-16 lead with 7:54 remaining. But Minnesota stayed in the game, outscoring the Wolverines, 14-10, before the first half came to a close.
Michigan ended the half with a 36-30 lead.
Junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. was outstanding for the ranked visitors in the first half, scoring 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting (4-of-5 from downtown) while also contributing two assists, two rebounds, two steals and one block. He exceeded his season average (16.1) in the first half alone.
Sophomore guard Trey Burke also reached double digits in the first half, scoring 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting and adding three assists.
The Wolverines shot 52 percent in the first 20 minutes.
But the Golden Gophers used a team effort to stay in the contest in the first 20 minutes. Junior guard Austin Hollins scored eight points on 3-of-7 shooting (including 2-of-4 from downtown) and senior guard Julian Welch added eight points on 3-of-3 shooting (2-of-2 from downtown).
The Golden Gophers outrebounded Michigan in the first half, 12-9, but they committed 11 turnovers and they weren't able to stop Hardaway.
Things got worse for Minnesota in the second half, when Michigan came out with a vengeance. In just over six minutes, the Wolverines built a commanding 56-37 lead, capped off by a 360-degree dunk by Glen Robinson III that led to a timeout by Minnesota.
It was a merciless, showtime-style barrage that had people thinking about the Fab Five back in the day. But Minnesota wasn't going to go down without a fight. The Golden Gophers, led by Austin Hollins and Andre Hollins, chipped the lead down to single digits with 8:16 remaining in the game.
They hung around until getting the lead down to seven points with under three minutes remaining in the contest, accentuated by a ferocious dunk by senior forward Rodney Williams. Michigan held on during a contentious final few minutes, however, going on to its 17th victory of the season and thankful to get out of Minnesota alive.
The Wolverines shot 55 percent for the game, overcoming the Golden Gophers' 30-20 advantage on the glass.
Hardaway finished with 21 points, while Austin Hollins finished with 21 points in a losing effort.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has been inconsistent this season, but he certainly brought his A-game on Thursday night, as Rod Beard of the Detroit News noted:
Well, it looks like THAT Tim Hardaway showed up to work today...— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) January 18, 2013
ESPN added at halftime:
Tim Hardaway, Jr. is making his pops proud tonight. Statline at the half: 17 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block.— ESPN (@espn) January 18, 2013
Dick Vitale of ESPN offered his thoughts at the half:
Minnesota to win must do a better job on D vs Hardaway - also must get ball to interior— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) January 18, 2013
As Michigan roared to a comfortable lead in the second half, Kyle Bogenschultz of GoBlueWolverine.com tweeted:
Michigan is just punking Minnesota. Had a feeling they'd respond in an angry way. Didn't expect this though— Kyle Bogenschutz (@KyleBogie) January 18, 2013
After Glen Robinson III threw down a 360 dunk, Aaron Holmes of AheliteBasketball.com was beside himself:
Glen Robinson III putting on a show haha. Looks like the Fab Five out there.— Aaron Holmes (@Aholmes20) January 18, 2013
What are your thoughts about the game?