No. 23 Michigan holds off Indiana rally
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)
In the middle of another rough shooting night, Tim Hardaway Jr. found himself open on the left wing.
With Michigan needing a basket, the talented sophomore didn't hesitate.
''It was a walk-in 3, and we got it from penetration. That's when, as a team, we strive to shoot those types of balls,'' he said. ''Lucky enough, it went in.''
Hardaway's 3-pointer with 2:58 remaining helped the 23rd-ranked Wolverines hold off No. 20 Indiana 68-56 on Wednesday night. Michigan scored the game's first 13 points and led by 20 before the Hoosiers rallied to cut the deficit to two. With the score 52-50, Hardaway and Stu Douglass made shots from beyond the arc.
''Coach looked at us and was begging us to make open shots,'' Douglass said.
During the final seconds, the Michigan fans began chanting ''Beat the Spartans!'' - the Wolverines will try for their fourth straight victory over Michigan State on Sunday in East Lansing.
Trey Burke scored 18 points for the Wolverines, who remained unbeaten at home. They got off to a quick start after last weekend's loss at No. 3 Ohio State.
Burke opened the scoring with a spinning layup and added two 3-pointers, and Zack Novak's 3-pointer from the right corner put Michigan (17-6, 7-3 Big Ten) ahead 13-0.
It was 28-8 after a free throw by Michigan's Jordan Morgan.
''We've been very fortunate that we're not dependent just on one or two guys,'' Wolverines coach John Beilein said. ''One guy has had a great game, and we were able to squeak by and win. Another day, someone else has been at the top of their game. I just said, `You know, it is OK if everybody plays pretty well on the same day.' And today was supposed to be the day. For those first 10 minutes, it certainly was.''
Indiana answered with nine straight points. Burke found a cutting Hardaway with an alley-oop pass to make it 33-20, and the Wolverines led 33-22 at halftime.
Michigan had only one turnover in the first half, while Indiana had eight.
''At the start of the game, we allowed a very good team to play like a great team because our players came out playing like they had seen a ghost,'' Indiana coach Tom Crean said. ''You cannot come out and not have a physical presence and give that kind of space to a team like Michigan.''
Indiana (17-6, 5-6) twice fought back within two points in the second half, including at 52-50 with 3:20 remaining. Hardaway finished 2 of 8 from 3-point range and is shooting 28 percent from long distance this season, but he connected from the left wing after a pass from Burke to make it 55-50.
''He's definitely got the guts to take them,'' Novak said. ''He's hit, already in his short career, quite a few big shots toward the end of games.''
After Indiana's Derek Elston missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Douglass made his 3-pointer to put the Wolverines up by eight.
Jordan Hulls scored 18 points for Indiana.
The Hoosiers beat Michigan 73-71 earlier in the season, part of a 15-1 start for Indiana that included wins over Kentucky and Ohio State. The Hoosiers have lost five of their last seven to fall well off the pace in the Big Ten race.
They did make Michigan work for the victory on Wednesday. Indiana chipped away in the second half, and Christian Watford's three-point play made it 38-36 with 12:53 remaining. Novak answered with a 3-pointer, the start of a 9-2 run for Michigan.
Indiana trailed by six points when Hulls made a 3-pointer and Watford added a free throw to cut the deficit again to two at 52-50.
Hardaway and Novak each scored 13 points. Cody Zeller had 11 for Indiana but was outshined by Burke in a matchup of two of the country's top freshmen.
Hulls went 4 of 5 from 3-point range, but the rest of the Hoosiers were 1 of 9.
There were eight fouls called in the first half and 25 in the second.