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Michigan basketball wins close slugfest at Penn State

The Wolverines got the job done against the Nittany Lions.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team picked up a big road win in a low-scoring battle against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Both teams struggled all night on offense, but Michigan was able to make just enough plays to come out with a close 58-57 victory.

First Half

Until the final few minutes of the first half, Michigan struggled mightily. The Wolverines couldn’t get anything going offensively and the Penn State lead grew to as many as 12. Michigan tightened up their defense and knocked down enough big shots down the stretch to end the half on an 11-0 run. Hunter Dickinson was dominant in the half going for 13 points and Jalen Pickett had 10 for the Nittany Lions. The the game was tied at 34 going into the break.

Second Half

The Michigan defense continued to have the clamps on defense as the second half got going, holding the Nittany Lions scoreless through the first six minutes of the half. Michigan’s offense couldn’t get much going, either. The Wolverines were able to grow their lead to six, but the game went back and forth the whole half and led to a close finish down the stretch. With just under three minutes to go, the game was tied 48-48, and this one went down to the wire. Michigan was ultimately able to execute in the late moments and ice the game with free throws to come out with a win.

Michigan has shown great composure in late games lately, winning narrowly against Nebraska and Northwestern as well. That late game execution will be huge down the stretch of the season when Michigan is in need of marquee wins.

With the Wolverines having Purdue and Ohio State on the schedule later this week, this was a huge win in what feels like needs to be a week that Michigan goes 2-1.

Purdue is up next on Thursday at the Crisler Center with a 9 p.m. tip on ESPN.