EVANSTON — Michigan’s improbable run of success continued Saturday afternoon, as the Wolverines overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to defeat host Northwestern 77-70 for their 11th straight win.

The Wildcats were scorching in the first half, at one point hitting for a 70-percent clip with just under a minute left in the half.

Northwestern’s lead reached its high-water mark 11 seconds into the second half when Jitim Young threw down an alley-oop dunk to make the Wildcats’ lead 42-32.

But, as in the Wolverines’ win over Ohio State last Wednesday, Michigan put the defensive clamp on the Wildcats, enabling it to go on a 34-15 run over a 15-minute stretch in the second half.

Freshman Daniel Horton led the Michigan charge again, connecting on five second-half 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 22 points. Horton’s last two baskets – a crossover 3-pointer and a stutter-step drive for a layup and a foul – cemented Michigan’s lead at 69-61 with less than four minutes left.

Senior LaVell Blanchard also turned it up a notch in the second half surge, finishing with 19 points and nine rebounds. That rebounding number is significant because the Wolverines ended up with a mere eight rebounds in the first half as a team, but bounced back to match Northwestern, 27-27, in total rebounding.

After watching Northwestern nail seven first-half 3-pointers, the
Wolverines continually switched between a 1-3-1 zone and man-to-man defenses, allowing them to regain control of the tempo and preventing the Wildcats from staying hot from 3-point range.

Michigan took the lead for good when center Chris Hunter – who had
arguably his most complete game as a Wolverine with 10 points, five
rebounds and several impressive hustle plays – took a pass from forward
Lester Abram and converted on a swooping reverse layup for a 52-50
Michigan lead with less than 12 minutes remaining.

The Michigan fans in the crowd were noticeable and noisy, as the 5,632 in the crowd were split almost 50-50 between Northwestern’s home fans and the Wolverines’ traveling contingent led by the Maize Rage student section.

The Big Ten-leading Wolverines are in action next Wednesday night at
Crisler Arena against Minnesota.

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