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Michigan battles through injuries, sloppy first half en route to 60-56 win over Minnesota

A messy first half for both teams gave way to a Michigan victory in the second.

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

Despite an injury to Jett Howard and a sloppy first half that saw the Michigan Wolverines trail by as many as 10 points, the Wolverines made the most of a second half surge and prevailed over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 60-56.

Here’s how the game played out for Michigan.

First half

The Wolverines got off to about as poor a start as they’ve had this season — allowing the Golden Gophers to score eight unanswered points before they found their first two.

Though Minnesota pushed the lead to as many as 10 points midway through the half, its shooting absolutely cratered after starting forward Dawson Garcia was sent to the bench with his second foul. In a scoring drought lasting more than seven minutes, the Golden Gophers missed 10 consecutive shots — allowing Michigan to sneak back into the game.

Despite a gruesome ankle injury to Jett Howard in the final two minutes of the first half, the Wolverines were able to wipe the slate clean just before the halftime buzzer off a clutch mid-range jumper by Hunter Dickinson, tying the score at 23 apiece.

Statistically, Dickinson led Michigan’s scoring efforts at halftime with eight points, while Dug McDaniel was the Wolverines’ top rebounder with five boards.

Second half

In stark contrast to their performance starting the first half, the Wolverines roared to life from the tip-off of the second half, going on an 8-0 scoring streak to take the lead and push it to five.

While the lead was momentarily in flux after an and-one three pointer for Minnesota’s Pharrel Payne, Payne missed the free throw and the Wolverines subsequently went on the warpath, denying the Golden Gophers on four consecutive shots while making a three pointer and an and-one jump shot of their own.

While it looked like the Wolverines would be able to leave Crisler Center with a relatively comfortable margin for the majority of the home stretch, things tensed up a bit in the final two minutes after a pair of missed free throws by Tarris Reed and a costly blocking foul by Will Tschetter allowed Minnesota to creep within three points.

Ultimately, the Golden Gophers gave up their shot at tying the game after a bizarre technical foul resulted in Tschetter going to the line for two, making both and pushing the lead back to five. After an exchange of endgame fouls, the Wolverines came out on top by a score of 60-56.

Statistically, Dickinson came within one rebound of a double-double, finishing as the team leader in points and boards with 23 and nine, respectively.

What’s next?

The Wolverines return to Crisler Center on Thursday, Jan. 26, facing off against the No. 2 ranked Purdue Boilermakers. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.