Michigan stays perfect at home

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Associated Press
Monday, February 13, 2012
— Evan Smotrycz broke up a pass at one end of the court, then Tim Hardaway Jr. rattled in a shot from the baseline at the other.

Michigan’s slumping sophomores were finally giving the Wolverines a lift again.

Hardaway scored 15 points and Smotrycz added 13, helping No. 22 Michigan remain unbeaten at home with a 70-61 win over Illinois on Sunday.

Freshman Trey Burke added 14 points for the Wolverines, but it was Smotrycz and Hardaway who came through with the most encouraging performances of the day, especially in the first half.

“I just didn’t like the pace of that game. We needed something good to happen,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “Tim hits a shot. Evan hits a shot. We have been waiting for that.”

Hardaway entered the game shooting 19 percent from three-point range in Big Ten play. Smotrycz wasn’t much better at 24 percent, but they both went 2 for 2 from beyond the arc in the first half.

“When your two worst three-point shooters go 4 for 4—Hardaway and Smotrycz—in the first half, it’s a killer for you,” Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. “They have so many other weapons and they spread you out.”

Brandon Paul led Illinois (16-9, 5-7) with 21 points, and Tyler Griffey added 18. The Fighting Illini have lost six of seven and are on the NCAA tournament bubble despite wins over Ohio State and Michigan State.

Hardaway’s poor outside shooting and Smotrycz’s ineffectiveness have been concerns for Michigan, but both players were sharp Sunday, especially early. Hardaway gave the Wolverines a 10-8 lead with a three-pointer from the left wing, and his shot from the baseline made it 25-20.

“It was a great relief, just seeing one go in and then another one,” Hardaway said.

Smotrycz made a backdoor pass to Matt Vogrich for an easy basket, then added a three-pointer of his own to make it 30-21. Michigan (19-7, 9-4) was ahead 37-31 at halftime and pushed the lead to double digits early in the second.

Michigan has won consecutive games for the first time since beating Wisconsin and Northwestern at home in mid-January. The Wolverines improved to 14-0 at Crisler Center this season.

n Purdue 87, Northwestern 77—At West Lafayette, Ind., Robbie Hummel scored a season-high 27 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds as Purdue snapped Northwestern’s three-game winning streak.

Hummel was one of five Boilermakers to score in double figures. D.J. Byrd added 20 points—18 in the second half—and Ryne Smith contributed 14 for Purdue (16-9, 6-6).

Terone Johnson scored 11 points, and Kelsey Barlow added 10 for Purdue.

John Shurna scored 30 points for the Wildcats (15-9,

5-7), and Reggie Hearn had 16, including 11 in the second half. Hearn’s final basket, a layup with 10:13 to go, gave Northwestern a 48-47 lead.

But Johnson’s 3-pointer put the Boilermakers ahead to stay 60-57 with 6:21 remaining.

The Wildcats finished the game without two starters — Alex Marcotullio, who fouled out, and Drew Crawford, who was ejected after receiving his second technical foul with 1:25 left.

The Boilermakers completed a season sweep of the Wildcats. They won 58-56 on Jan. 18 at Northwestern when Hummel made a baseline jumper with 8.1 seconds to go.

Purdue was coming off losses to No. 23 Indiana and No. 3 Ohio State, and needed this one to get back to .500 in the Big Ten and help its resume for the NCAA tournament.

Shurna’s big game left him 45 points behind Bill McKinney’s Northwestern record of 1,900.

Purdue outrebounded Northwestern 40-28 on Sunday, with Barlow adding eight and Smith seven to Hummel’s nine. In the first meeting, the Wildcats had 14 more rebounds than the Boilers.

Northwestern trailed 31-26 at halftime before taking the lead on Hearn’s basket nearly halfway though the second half, but that was the Wildcats’ last time in control of the game.

Last updated: 2:22 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

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