Michigan's quiet leader, Lavell Blanchard, got off to a very slow start after being called for 2 fouls in the first five minutes of the contest. The task of keeping UM in the game fell on the shoulders of Michigan's other star upperclassman, Bernard Robinson Jr. In his best Scottie Pippen imitation, Bernard scored 11 of his 13 points and grabbed 6 of his team high 11 rebounds in the first half. He also threw in 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 3 steals for good measure.
Despite only shooting 36% from the field and going 0 for 7 from behind the arc in the first half, Michigan still went into the locker room with a one point lead. The Gophers only shot 32% from the field for the half, and the pre-season choice for Big Ten Player of the Year, Rick Rickert, was held in check by 3 personal fouls.
Lavell Blanchard finished the first twenty minutes with only 4 points. However, he hit an 18 footer from the left elbow to end the half and put Michigan up by one. That jumper seemed to be the catalyst for a second-half offensive explosion by the senior co-captain. He scored Michigan's first 7 second-half points to help the Wolverines keep pace with Minnesota. Then, Rick Rickert got hot and hit 8 straight points to give the Gophers their largest second half lead, with a score of 50-44 at 13:10. Blanchard answered with an assortment of 3 point baskets and free throws to help Michigan pull away for good, and earn the 75-63 victory. He scored 24 of Michigan's 43 second half points. The Wolverines also continued their outstanding free throw shooting by notching a season high 29 of 34 from behind the stripe. They also won the rebounding battle by grabbing a season high 44 boards, while the Gophers grabbed 38.
The Wolverines carry their Big Ten leading 5-0 record (12-6 overall) into Sunday's match up with their nemesis, the Michigan State Spartans. MSU has won the previous eight meetings by an average of 22 points. They come to Crisler after achieving a much needed home victory versus Penn State to take their conference record to 2-3. The Wolverines hope to send them back to East Lansing without the company of the .500 mark.
Michigan Continues Its Winning Ways
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