Men's Basketball

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In their fifth straight win, Michigan men’s basketball beat Purdue on the road, 71-63.

Spurred by junior forward Isaiah Livers’s return from an ankle injury, the Wolverine’s won on the road, marking their longest winning streak since the beginning of the season with seven straight victories.

Senior guard Zavier Simpson is shooting 37 percent on 3-pointers this season, up from 28.5 percent in his career.

Simpson — assuredly not known for his shooting prowess — has been trapped between the decision to take the open 3-point shot or carry on with one of many other options that he is more comfortable with, including driving to the hoop or finding another open man. But in an unexpected development, the veteran guard has added an effective 3-point shot to his arsenal, elevating the Wolverines’ offense. The senior made this addition even more apparent on Wednesday, when he hit two threes in the opening four minutes to ignite Michigan’s offense in its eventual 60-52 win over Rutgers.

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Leading up to Wednesday, Castleton had played just five minutes over the Wolverines’ last three games. But when Michigan needed a second-half spark against Rutgers, coach Juwan Howard called his number. Castleton delivered a timely and-one layup and a much-needed defensive presence, propelling the Wolverines to a 60-52 victory.

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The process of breaking that standoff wasn’t pretty, but even without leading scorer, Isaiah Livers, the Michigan men’s basketball team (17-9 overall, 8-7 Big Ten) held on to beat Rutgers (18-9, 9-7), 60-52, undaunted in a hostile environment.

Sophomore forward Brandon Johns Jr. has been part of a revamped bench for Michigan in recent weeks.

Livers was sidelined with a groin injury in late December and reaggravated it against Illinois a month later. On Sunday against Indiana, he appeared to injure his ankle — he’s currently wearing a boot as a precaution, and it’s unclear whether he’ll play at Rutgers on Wednesday. Simpson was given a one-game suspension at the beginning of the month for a traffic violation. Teske has been slumping lately, putting up double-digits just once in the last five games and shooting 30 percent.

Junior guard Eli Brooks has helped lead Michigan's late-season surge.

Since Michigan’s victory over Nebraska and Isaiah Livers’ return, the Wolverines have been on a tear — reminiscent of its early season success.

Senior point guard Zavier Simpson scored 12 points and added 11 assists in Sunday’s  89-65 win over Indiana.

Zavier Simpson took the ball up the court to kick things off against Indiana on Sunday. But, fairly uncharacteristically, Simpson attempted to find his man on the right side only to see the ball land squarely in the hands of a Hoosier. Rather than follow up Indiana’s opening bucket with a couple points of his own, Simpson was staring down a turnover and a less-than-ideal start. But that would be one of his only mistakes all afternoon.

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Jon Teske might’ve just missed a point-blank layup attempt, but he wasn’t going to give up on the play. As the rebound evaded the grasp of the Hoosiers, the senior center dove on it and had the wherewithal to find Franz Wagner alone under the basket for two. Teske’s effort, apart from sending the Crisler Center crowd into an uproar, capped off an offensive onslaught that saw his team take a 12-point lead on Indiana late in the first half. From there, the Michigan men’s basketball team (16-9 overall, 7-7 Big Ten) held serve to beat the Hoosiers (16-9, 6-8), 89-65, Sunday afternoon.

Eli Brooks has led Michigan in scoring in its last three road games.

On Wednesday, following a blowout win over Northwestern, junior forward Isaiah Livers was asked to describe junior guard Eli Brooks — the game’s leading scorer. Instead of diving into the minutiae of the guard’s performance, Livers kicked things off by giving the third-year player a new nickname:

“The silent assassin.”

Isaiah Livers' return has energized a stagnant Michigan offense in the two games since his return.

The sequence was just one of a slew of fast break opportunities enjoyed by the Wolverines during Wednesday’s 79-54 rout of the Wildcats. Whether it was a rim-rattling dunk by junior forward Isaiah Livers or a wide-open 3-pointer from junior guard Eli Brooks, Michigan carved up Northwestern’s transition defense. By the end of the night, the Wolverines had scored 17 fastbreak points — their highest tally since playing Iowa State in late November.