Michigan tops Northwestern in overtime
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Michigan kept shooting from the 3-point line Tuesday night and coach John Beilein had no problem with the 38 attempts his No. 11 Wolverines hoisted toward the basket from long range.
Most pleasing to him of the 14 Michigan made were the three straight to open overtime against Northwestern, sending his team to a 67-55 victory and keeping them right in the hunt for a Big Ten title.
“We shot 38 of them. That’s a lot. We’re going to have to put some ice on those arms on the way home,” Beilein said.
“We have good enough shooters that we were going to make those shots eventually.”
Trey Burke, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass hit 3-pointers to start the extra period as Michigan continued its late season surge with a fourth straight victory. And this one was h-earned, the second time this season Michigan has gone to overtime to beat Northwestern.
“They’re trying to get into the NCAA tournament and we’re trying to play for a Big Ten championship and I think the game and the spirit of the game reflected that,” Beilein said.
But there were other numbers beside the 3-pointers that stood out — like only seven turnovers for the Wolverines and the 14 points from Big Ten scoring leader John Shurna of Northwestern, six under his average.
Northwestern (16-11, 6-9) had its chances of getting to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history dealt another setback with three games left.
“A tough loss,” Northwestern’s Reggie Hearn said. “We had a chance to get a resume-building win. We didn’t get it but we still got something to play for.”
Shurna became the school’s career scoring leader on Saturday, but managed only four points after halftime Tuesday night. He shot 6-for-16.
“We tried to do some things that would not get him feeling comfortable,” Beilein said. “Even from NBA range.”
Burke, who finished with 19 points, sank a 3-pointer after an offensive rebound by Novak to give the Wolverines (21-7, 11-4) the early lead in overtime. And then two more 3s gave the Wolverines a nine-point lead.
“We went out there with a different mindset going into overtime. We did all the small things, got on the board, got on the ground. We just executed,” Burke said.
“We knew that they were a little winded and we were going to come out and hit big shots, and we did. … Coach just told us to keep shooting.”
Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 3-pointer with about a minute and a half left in regulation tied the game at 49. Both teams had a chance to go ahead in closing seconds but couldn’t.
Northwestern missed two shots and Burke rebounded the second one and called a timeout with 24.3 seconds to go. The Wolverines moved the ball around before Northwestern’s Alex Marcotullio fouled with 4.7 seconds to go.
After both teams used timeouts, Burke put up a contested shot from deep that was well short, forcing the second overtime game of the season between the teams. Michigan won the first meeting 66-64 in Ann Arbor on Jan. 11.
Hearn, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds, hit a 3-pointer as Northwestern regrouped after three rapid-fire turnovers to give the Wildcats a 45-43 lead. And a Wolverines miss at the other end,. Shurna made a spin move in the lane and dropped the ball in the basket to make it a four-point lead.
But Burke and Hardaway hit 3-pointers for Michigan on either side of a basket Shurna made while falling down making it 49-49 tie with 1:25 left.
Michigan clamped down on defense in the second half and the Wolverines took their first lead of the second half when Matt Vogrich sank a 3-pointer from the corner. Seconds later a Northwestern turnover led to a fastbreak layup by Burke and the Wolverines led 41-38 with a little more than eight minutes left.
The Wildcats managed just three baskets on 11 attempts in the first 12 minutes of the second half, a span that saw the Big Ten’s leading scorer Shurna go scoreless.
Hearn’s hustle and six points during a closing 18-5 run over the final eight minutes drove the Wildcats to a 31-24 halftime lead.
The Wolverines hit six 3-pointers in the first half and had a 19-14 lead before Northwestern’s half-court trapping defense started to bother them over the final half of the opening 20 minutes. The Wolverines shot just 8 for 24 overall in the first half, while Northwestern was good on 50 percent and outrebounded Michigan 20-10.