Wilson scores 19, Michigan beats Illinois 66-57
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan wore blue uniforms at home, not its traditional white gear, to fire up its players and send Illinois a message.
It seemed to work.
D.J. Wilson had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, leading the Wolverines to a 66-57 win over the Fighting Illini.
"We weren't the white-collar team today," Wilson said Saturday.
That was a thinly veiled shot at Illinois center Maverick Morgan, who called the Wolverines a "white-collar team traditionally," on Jan. 11 after a 16-point win over them.
Even though the comments appeared to make Michigan more motivated to win the rematch, Morgan insisted he didn't regret what he said.
"It's how I felt after the first game, and it's how I still feel about the first game," Morgan said.
Michigan's Derrick Walton had 11 of his 13 points in the second half and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds and Zak Irvin scored 15 for the Wolverines (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten).
The Fighting Illini (12-8, 2-5) didn't have a player in double digits until there was 4:23 left, when Malcom Hill made a jumper. Hill finished with 16 points.
The Wilson-led Wolverines took control with a 13-3 run midway through the first half. The 6-foot-10 junior forward helped Michigan turn a one-point deficit into a 22-13 lead with 10 points in fewer than eight minutes. He made a 3-pointer, baskets off offensive rebounds and a free throw during the dominant stretch.
"He was absolutely terrific," Illinois coach John Groce said. "He was a real difference."
Michigan led 34-24 at halftime and was ahead by as many as 21 in the second half before the Illini rallied to make the score look relatively respectable.
Wilson, who averages 10 points a game, played well after being held scoreless against the Badgers.
"Coach just told me to get back to the basics as far as rebounding, getting all the garbage points and stuff like that," he said. "And, my momentum carried into just my offensive game."
Illinois: The Illini have lost three straight since routing Michigan. They have to find a way to get more scoring out of players other than Hill. Against Michigan, reserves Te'Jon Lucas scored eight and Mike Thorne had seven points. Morgan scored six points, 4.4 below his previous average, and Leron Black had just four points after nearly averaging double figures.
"Our second and third guy might be a different guy in different games," Groce said. "But in this game, we didn't have a second guy."
Michigan: The Wolverines needed the win after losing a lead late at No. 17 Wisconsin and having their confidence shaken with a lopsided setback at Illinois.
"Really great win for us," coach John Beilein said. "We needed that badly. Kids gave a great effort at Wisconsin on and had to follow that up again. I thought that was as hard as we've played on defense all year.
Michigan scored 22 points off Illinois' 17 turnovers and had 14 points off 10 offensive rebounds. The Illini scored 12 points off turnovers and six points on second-chance points.
Illinois is 0-4 on opponents' home courts this season and has lost eight straight on the road since Feb. 3, 2016, when it won at Rutgers in triple overtime.
"We should be able to win away from home," Hill said. "We've showed the type of team we are at the crib, but we got to be that same team if not better, more together."
Illinois: Plays on Wednesday night at home against Iowa.
Michigan: Hosts Indiana on Thursday night before playing at Michigan State for the first of two matchups between the rivals in a 10-day span.