Stop me if you’ve heard this before this season — faced with a do-or-die scenario in regards to their NCAA Tournament hopes, the Michigan Wolverines gave more than 100 percent effort in a statement victory.
In a massive quadrant one victory for the Wolverines, a roadtrip to Piscataway, New Jersey was ultimately successful as Michigan came away with a 58-45 victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Here’s how the game played out.
It was all Scarlet Knights to start Thursday’s game, as they drew first blood and surged out to a 13-3 lead after the first eight minutes. An 0-for-5 shooting drought for Rutgers wiped the slate clean, however, giving the Wolverines an opening to bring the margin back to a single possession headed into the second media timeout.
Though the Scarlet Knights made a second seven-point push late in the quarter, Michigan responded with a surge of its own — outscoring Rutgers 11-2 over three and a half minutes to unexpectedly take a four-point lead in the final two minutes. Rutgers came close to making it a one point game in the closing seconds, but a missed and-one free throw coupled with a buzzer-beating foul to Dug McDaniel gave the Wolverines the last word, closing the half at 26-23 Michigan.
Statistically, Kobe Bufkin finished the half as the Wolverines’ scoring leader with 10 points, while Hunter Dickinson finished the half as the rebounding leader with five boards.
Michigan kept the momentum firmly on its side to start the second half, as a 2+ minute scoring drought for Rutgers headed into the first media timeout pushed the Wolverines’ lead to eight points. But once Rutgers shook the cobwebs off, it went shot for shot with Michigan and brought the score back within one possession headed into the final 10 minutes.
Just as it seemed the Scarlet Knights looked ready to turn the corner completely, the Wolverines ripped the momentum back into their corner, going on an 12-4 run to head into the final two minutes with their first double-digit lead of the game. That scoring run ultimately proved to be the dagger in Rutgers’ hopes, as Michigan finished the game running up the score to a final 13-point margin.
Statistically, it was a three-man race to the end for the Wolverines’ scoring lead in the contest, with Dug McDaniel ultimately finishing with the crown after scoring 16 points. The rebounding tallies were far less competitive meanwhile, as Dickinson finished far and away the leader with 11 boards.
The Wolverines return home against the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday, Feb. 26. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. on CBS.