Michigan Basketball defeated Pittsburgh on Wednesday 67-62. The win moves the Wolverines into the finals of the NIT Season Tipoff. Where they will play Kansas State on Friday for the championship.
Pitt took it to Michigan early and held a 33-29 led at the half. In the second stanza, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III combined for 22 points to push the Wolverines past the Panthers. Once they got the lead, Michigan was able to hold off a Pitt rally by knocking down 12 straight free throws to end the game.
Michigan struggled from three-point range as they only connected on 3 of 17 from deep. One of the triples they did make was a clutch shot by Hardaway Jr. with 6 minutes to play, that gave U-M a 51-47 lead. Hardaway Jr. continues to play with a fierce determination. He rose to the occasion to propel Michigan to a key early season victory. He finished the game with 16 points and 4 rebounds.
Trey Burke led Michigan with 17 points and 6 assists. More impressively, he only turned the ball over once against a physical Pittsburgh defense.
One of the key factors in the victory was Michigan’s rebounding. They out-rebounded a notoriously good rebounding team, Pitt, 37-26. Jordan Morgan led the charge with a game-high 8 board, including 4 on the offensive end.
Robinson III finished with 13 points and 5 boards. He was 5-8 from the field and he had a really impressive block in the first half. Nik Stauskas didn’t start, but he played starter minutes (33) and was on the court to begin the second half. He scored 15 points and was a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. As I said in the NIT preview, it’s only a matter of time before Stauskas is inserted into the starting five.
This was a gritty and resolute effort by Michigan to beat a good Pitt team. Even though they struggled from beyond the arc, Michigan was 20-33 on two point field goals and showed a diverse attack with many legitimate scoring options.
Friday’s game against Kansas State will tip at 4:30pm and be televised on ESPN.