Final Horn: Michigan 68, Rutgers 57

Zach Shaw

Things didn’t go exactly as planned for the Michigan basketball team Wednesday night, but the Wolverines picked a good night to struggle.

Hosting Rutgers, one of the worst Big Ten teams in recent memory, Michigan (6-2 Big Ten, 16-5 overall) took care of business in the second half, closing out a 68-57 win. Despite an inspired start and even leading more than 15 minutes into the game, the Scarlet Knights (0-8, 6-15) lost their 23rd-consecutive Big Ten game.

MVP: Zak IrvinThe junior forward was not the leading scorer, but lately that’s what has made Irvin so successful. Irvin finished the game with just eight points, but chipped in a career-high 12 rebounds and eight assists. Given the Wolverines’ difficulty to score across the board in the game, Irvin’s help away from his shooting was as crucial as ever as he notched almost half of Michigan’s assists on the evening.

It was over when… With just over five minutes to go, Michigan had yet to take the lead. But with a confused and quieted crowd behind them, the Wolverines took off on a 10-0 run. Shots began to fall on open looks for Michigan, while the Scarlet Knights coughed up four turnovers and committed five fouls in the scoreless stretch. Rutgers played roughly even with Michigan in the second half, but never again looked capable or ready to make a comeback

Key Stat: Scoring did not come as easily for the Wolverines on Wednesday, but they did assist on 85 percent of made field goals. The clip is a season high for Michigan, and well above its 58-percent average.

Unsung Hero: Aubrey DawkinsHe missed what was very nearly a highlight-reel dunk, but the sophomore guard still provided plenty of energy. Continuing to assimilate to the bench role, Dawkins scored eight consecutive points in 96 seconds to help give Michigan the lead and some offensive momentum late in the first half. He didn’t stop there either, continuing to mix threes and good cuts to the basket and ending the game with 11 points.

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  • gobluemd16

    Washing that game from my memory immediately. Dylan and Zach shouldn’t even have to write a recap and follow-up article from the game and the interviews that followed.

  • Slim33

    Just like the brutal Minnesota win, take it and move on. I cant help but remember Corey Sanders being on Michigan’s recruiting radar for a while. The kid is a fearless, explosive playmaker at the PG position that I would’ve loved to see play at Mich.

  • jemblue

    Ugly game. Whatever, just glad we got the win. Still no real blemishes on our resume.

  • bobohle

    Glad for the win. It’s just puzzling why M plays so flat against lesser competition. It’s almost a ho hum situation that the staff doesn’t seem to be able to grab a hold of.

  • Tuff Enough

    Beilein has what he wanted not keeping Max a team that looks like crap with no senior Leadership. Still have no clue why he did not keep him for extra muscle for inside and let the young guys have more time to learn the game in the Big Ten which will eat you up with the physical play. Scholarship not being used just makes no sense to me, knowing injuries could happen and will happen.