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Michigan gets third straight Big Ten victory in 79-69 win over Penn State

The Wolverines fought to the end against the Nittany Lions in a solid, albeit streaky performance.

NCAA Basketball: Central Michigan at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t quite the 35-point blowout the Michigan Wolverines had against Maryland, but on Wednesday evening they muscled their way to a hard fought 79-69 victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions.

This is Michigan’s third consecutive win in the Big Ten schedule and second win in a row since Jan. 1.

Here’s how the game played out for Michigan:

First Half

Although neither team was able to get a definitive lead in the early goings, the Wolverines exploded out of the first media timeout — going on a 13-2 run and leading by 12 points at the midway point of the half.

The Nittany Lions were able to cut the lead back down to five for a brief period of time headed into the final five minutes, but Michigan quickly took it back into double digits after Hunter Dickinson scored six points in rapid succession. Ultimately, Penn State forward Evan Mahaffey put the stamp on the first half with a buzzer-beating triple, cutting the score to 42-34 in favor of the Wolverines.

Statistically, Dickinson led the Wolverines in scoring with 10 points, while Kobe Bufkin led the rebounding efforts with five.

Second half

With the help of a 13-2 scoring streak to start the half, the Nittany Lions wasted no time making it a tight game once again — outright tying the game up just past the 15:00 mark of the second half.

Just as fast as Penn State tied the game up, the Wolverines ripped the lead right back, going on an electric 14-0 run to push the game back to a double-digit margin. Even this scoring streak couldn’t be the decider, however, as the Nittany Lions went on a second run of over 10 points to get the score back within two possessions headed into the final four minutes of the game.

Though Penn State came within three points of tying the game, freshman point guard Dug McDaniel ultimately ended any hopes of a comeback for good with a dagger jump shot near the free-throw line that pushed the score to five.

Statistically, Dickinson finished as the Wolverines’ scoring leader with 17 points, while Terrence Williams II notched nine boards to finish as Michigan’s rebounding leader.

What’s next

The Wolverines travel to East Lansing to face bitter rival Michigan State on Saturday, Jan. 7. Tip-off time is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.