(4) Michigan Rallies From 11 Down to Knock Out (5) Illinois, 60-55

Zack Novak and the Michigan Wolverines advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, rallying from an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat Illinois.

Entering this game, both teams needed a win that would put an exclamation mark on their NCAA resumes. Illinois had beaten North Carolina, Wisconsin in Champaign-Urbana, and then-ranked Michigan State, but had fallen apart down the stretch and went 9-9 in conference play. The Fighting Illini suffered sweeps at the hands of Purdue and Ohio State, and lost their rematch with Wisconsin. Going 1-5 against the top three teams in the conference did not help Bruce Weber's team at all. Neither did a 61-57 setback at the hands of the Michigan State team that they had beaten. 

Michigan, on the other hand, got off to a brutal start in Big Ten play, losing 6 games in a row and struggling to a 1-6 start in conference play. But then Michigan beat Michigan State on their home court for the first time in over a decade, a win that would get the Wolverines rolling down the stretch. After suffering a sweep at the hands of Wisconsin via a game-winning 3 by Josh Gasser, the Wolverines picked themselves up and won their last two games to finish 9-9 in Big Ten play.

The Michigan Wolverines lost their only contest with Illinois in the regular season, a 54-52 decision in Champaign-Urbana that snapped a 3 game Michigan winning streak (over Penn State, Northwestern, and Indiana). In that game, MIchigan lost the rebounding battle to the Fighting Illini 38-32 and came up just short on a Stu Douglass miss as time expired.

This time, though, Illinois got off to an early lead, seizing a 34-23 lead at the half. But Michigan never quit, driving repeatedly on the Illini, who simply went cold from outside and inside. a long gap in which Illinois couldn't get a field goal allowed Michigan to tie the game late in the second half. And then Michigan took the lead, one it would not relinquish. Illinois fouled Michigan over and over, but the Wolverines made their free throws and ousted Bruce Weber's Illini, advancing to the semifinals against rival Ohio State.

Michigan had three players score in double-figures: Darius Morris with 17, Tim Hardaway Jr. with 16, and Zack Novak with 13. Morris, who had one of the best assists per game figures in the nation, had a team-high 7 assists to pace the Wolverines, along with 4 rebounds. Stu Douglass had just 3 points, but he had a team-high 7 rebounds and 4 assists of his own. Michigan as a team had 13 assists to 10 turnovers.

Illinois also had 3 players in double figures, but all three scored exactly 10 points: Dimitri McCamey, Brandon Paul, and Mike Tisdale. Bill Cole had 9 points, and Mike Davis 8. Tisdale and Cole led Illinois with 7 rebounds each. McCamey had a team-high 5 assists; Brandon Paul and Tisdale had 4 assists each. But it would be turnovers that did in the Illini, Illinois had 16 assists and 13 turnovers, and only had one more rebound than Michigan.

Michigan now plays Ohio State. For Illinois, it's going to be an anxious couple of days before Selection Sunday.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join BT Powerhouse

You must be a member of BT Powerhouse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at BT Powerhouse. You should read them.

Join BT Powerhouse

You must be a member of BT Powerhouse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at BT Powerhouse. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker