Michigan Takes Down Minnesota 66-56

Michigan behind Nik Stauskas's 21 points battled off multiple Minnesota runs to clinch a share of the Big Ten championship Saturday night in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Mich. -- After scorching the nets in Minneapolis when the Gophers took down a ranked Iowa foe at home in their last game, Saturday night verse the Big Ten leading Michigan Wolverines was a different story.

Minnesota had 20 points in the first half and shot 38% from the field on 9/24 shooting to go along with 1/7 from the three point line. Not to make matters worse as the Gophers are very effective when they attack the rim, but they were a miserable 1/4 from the free throw line as well in the half.

Elliott Eliason was 4-5 shooting in the first half with 8 points and 4 rebounds, but in the second didn't find the basket again as he went scoreless and only got 1 more rebound in the second half to add to his 4 rebounds.

The Gophers were down 11 to begin the second half, but with Deandre Mathieu scoring all his 9 points in the second half and Austin Hollins with 16 points in the game to Minnesota very much in the game.

The biggest play of the game came at the 4:31 mark in the second half as Minnesota trailed 54-52 and Michigan missed a jumper. Michigan's power forward Jordan Morgan tangled with Mo Walker to for rebound to have a held ball and the possession was in favor of the Wolverines. The next play, Morgan missed a shoot down low, but sophomore point guard Spike Albrecht tipped the ball over Joey King's head and Morgan grabbed and banked it off the window.

The Gophers were never able to come back from that play and with a Caris LeVert lay-up and a mid range shot followed by an Albrecht three ball at the end of the shot clock to push the lead back up to 10 with just a minute, it was all over. Minnesota finished the night 22-48 shooting for 45% from the field and 5-18 from behind the arc for only 28%.

"I thought we did a great job fighting back every time they made a run, but you have to give them credit," Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. "There's a reason that they just clinched a share of the title, and that a lot of those guys helped them go to the championship game last season."

Michigan's stars played like they have been all season as sharp shooter Nik Stauskas led all scorers with 21 points in the game and Glen Robinson III had 12 points on 6-10 shooting, but some coming above the rim with his high flying ability.

"During the handshake line, I told every one of their players that they were a great team, and they should go to the NBA right now," Pitino said with a laugh. "Sadly, I think they are more likely to listen to Coach Beilien than they are to listen to me."

With this win, Michigan has clinched a share of the Big Ten championship and it also came on the night they were honoring their 1989 national championship team.

Minnesota sits 18-12 on the season and 7-10 in Big Ten play with a must win in their season finale game for senior night against Penn State. The Gophers are squarely on the bubble and have an RPI of 47 and with their game against Michigan that pushes their strength of schedule to 3.

"We control our own destiny," Austin Hollins said. "We're capable of making it into the NCAA tournament. We're capable of making a run. We've just got to work that much harder to get it done."

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