ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It sure wasn't pretty but Michigan was able to walk away with a victory Wednesday night against reeling Rutgers 68-57.
The Wolverines (16-5, 6-2) appeared to limp its way, relatively speaking, to a sloppy 34-27 halftime lead over the Scarlet Knights (6-15, 0-8) shooting 35% from the field and 33% from the three-point line. U-M was able to capitalize on a five minute scoring drought by Rutgers and also contributed 14 points off turnovers as well.
"You have to manufacture energy," U-M coach John Beilein said. "When you're missing shots it can take a lot out of you. It takes out of your defense, you just can't put your head down and wallow in it. You've got to continue to give the energy to your team. We've got to work on some of those areas, we had a good run there where we experienced some adversity and we still won. Hopefully we can grow from there."
After drawing its lead to as little as five, The Scarlet Knights run was quickly thwarted when U-M was able to finally put Rutgers away late in the second half and extend its lead to double-digits and never looked back.
It was an uncharacteristic game on all fronts for the Wolverines. Marred by turnovers (10) and missed buckets, it wasn't the prettiest of endings. However, U-M was able to make a strong push of its own thanks to 14 turnovers by Rutgers.
Duncan Robinson contributed two uncharacteristic airballs of his own from two-point range but still led the team in scoring with 18 points, 12 of those from the three-point line. U-M forward Zak Irvin almost contributed a triple-double of his own but fell short, finishing the night with eight points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
When the shots weren't falling for the Wolverines, it looked to the bench to provide a spark somehow. They found it once again in Aubrey Dawkins. Despite an electric missed dunk, he still provided quality minutes and added some key baskets in victory on Wednesday night.
"That was a big part of our game," Beilein said of Dawkins. "We've really established our sixth guy that can give us something. He played a lot of minutes tonight, too. It's really been good and he continues to grow in certain areas. He will be an important part with 10 games left."
The Wolverines finished the night shooting 40% from the field and 39% from the three-point line. Rutgers, on the other hand, finished the night shooting 44% from the field and 16% from the three-point line. The Scarlet Knights were paced by Mike Williams, who finished the night with 17 points.
The Scarlet Knights outrebounded the Wolverines 30-29.