Trey Burke scored 23 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21 and No. 2 Michigan pounded Northwestern 94-66 on Thursday night to remain unbeaten.
Off to their best start since they opened the 1985-86 season with 16 wins, the Wolverines (14-0, 1-0) had no trouble in the Big Ten opener after breezing through the non-conference portion of their schedule.
They built a 21-point halftime lead with Burke and Hardaway Jr. leading the way and were never challenged by Northwestern (9-5, 0-1).
Michigan shot 59 percent overall and made 13 of 22 3-point attempts with the two guards doing most of the damage. Both hit 4 of 5 3-pointers, with Burke going 9 of 16 overall from the field and Hardaway going 6 of 8. The ankle injury that kept Hardaway out of the previous game didn’t seem to be an issue.
Jordan Morgan added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Wolverines, while Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas scored 10 points apiece.
Jared Swopshire and Kale Abrahamson each scored 11 points for Northwestern, but the Wildcats gave up the most points they have allowed this season while being outclassed by one of the nation’s best team.
It was a sharp contrast from their two meetings last season, when Michigan needed overtime to win both games.
This time, the Wolverines ended the suspense early.
Burke, averaging a team-leading 17.8 points coming in, scored 15 in the first half. Hardaway added 12 points, hitting all four 3s, and Michigan barely broke a sweat before taking a 51-30 halftime lead.
Burke did his best to bury Northwestern almost as soon as the game started.
The sophomore guard scored 13 straight points for Michigan to help the Wolverines grab a 20-4 lead.
Hardaway got going midway through the half, making consecutive 3-pointers that made it 33-13 and drew an “M Go Blue! M Go Blue!” chant from the maize-and-blue contingent in the stands.
He struck again from the outside on consecutive possessions later in the half. And Burke wowed the crowd in the closing minutes when he laid the ball in after a nasty crossover.
For Northwestern fans, there was little to cheer in the early going other than when football coach Pat Fitzgerald addressed the crowd on the heels of his team’s Gator Bowl victory.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.