U-M Accomplishes One of its Goals, Wins B1G

The Wolverines ended their 28 year drought with an outright Big Ten championship at Illinois, as U-M defeats the Fighting Illini going away 84-53 Tuesday night. ***Read the full story inside***

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- John Beilein came to Michigan seven years ago with a goal of winning an outright Big Ten regular season championship.

Tuesday night in front of frenzied crowd at Illinois' State Farm Center the Wolverines did just that, ending their 28-year drought.

The night was made possible by a brilliant display of three-point shooting. Nik Stauskas led the way with 24-points and career-high seven triples, as U-M cruised to an 84-53 win over the Fighting Illini.

So in Beilein's case -- mission accomplished.

"I don't know what to think," Beilein said afterwards. "I have this funny, quite feeling right now where you set out to accomplish a goal -- and you accomplish it -- It's sort of strange."

Strange is a unique way of describing Michigan's (22-7, 14-3 Big Ten) dominant performance. "Lights out" would better describe their shooting effort from three-point range. U-M shot 16-of-23 from behind the arc, good for nearly 70-percent. Stauskas was the most efficient of the Wolverines' marksmen, blitzing the Illinois defense with a 7-of-9 clip from deep and all but cemented his status as Big Ten player of the year.

"It's amazing, the fact that we haven't done this since '86, and the fact that we talk about this every day in practice (and) in film sessions. We always talk about being Big Ten champions," said Stauskas. "We've worked so hard, even with the injuries we've had. to have this right now is amazing."

With the win, Michigan won its 14th conference crown in school history. It's their second Big Ten title in three years. In 2011-12 the Wolverines won a share of conference crown. And after a 6-4 start in non-conference play this season, no one outside their locker room gave them much of a chance to win the trophy heading into Big Ten play.

"The guys in that locker room walking around, that's the best group of guys I have ever been around. The best team I have been around," said Glenn Robinson III, who finished with 13 points and five rebounds. "We all get along. We have all our own little jokes. We are always all clowning around. Another thing we kept saying, ‘We just won a Big Ten championship outright.' Tomorrow we have an off day. tomorrow I bet all these guys will be in the gym getting up shots."

That workman like attitude is a prime example of why Michigan deserved and are the Big Ten champs.

"Our kids are happy. We're all really happy," said Beilein after Michigan won its seventh road game in the Big Ten play this season. "But in the manor that it happened, and on the road, it's something I know I am going to cherish for a longtime. Right now I am trying to our together how we played that well tonight."

And the wait is over.

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