McGary, Burke guide Michigan past Penn State

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Michigan was getting a sinking feeling early in Thursday's Big Ten tournament clash with Penn State.

Coming off a disappointing Sunday home loss to Indiana and memories of a late collapse at Penn State last month still fresh, the Wolverines found themselves trailing 14-3 less than six minutes into the game.

Enter Mitch McGary. The Michigan freshman stopped the bleeding with a layup, then added two more in a less than 2 1/2 minutes as the Wolverines righted the ship then went on to dominate the second half in an 83-66 first-round tourney victory at the United Center.

McGary went on to collect 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, joining four other Wolverines in double figures and No. 5 seed Michigan (26-6) advanced to a Friday quarterfinal date with fourth seed Wisconsin.

"(McGary) has the ability to bring the spark to this team, not only at the offensive end, but on the defensive end," Michigan guard Trey Burke said. "I think he had six or seven rebounds within 10 minutes. And that just goes to show how much effort and intensity he plays with."

Burke, the Big Ten player of the year, led all scorers with 21 points as the fifth-seeded Wolverines, ranked No. 6 nationally, earned a Friday quarterfinals date with No. 4 seed Wisconsin.

Thursday's meeting was the third between Michigan and Penn State in the past 3 1/2 weeks. The Lions upset the Wolverines 84-74 on Feb. 27.

D.J. Newbill led the No. 12 seed Nittany Lions (10-21) with 20 points, Sasa Borovnjak had 15 and Ross Travis added 12 points and 11 boards.

Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Nik Stauskas each had 15 points for Michigan while Jon Horford had 11 points.

The Wolverines turned a two-point game at halftime into a blowout, leading by as many as 19 points on three occasions in the second half.

"We had a really disappointing loss on Saturday (and) bouncing back is always a difficult thing to do," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "But then you get down 14-3, we could have pointed fingers at each other, we could have lost our composure. Within no time it was a tie game or we were ahead by one."

Michigan's Burke opened the game with a 3-pointer for a quick lead, but Penn State stormed back with 14-unanswered points to claim a 14-3 lead before six minutes had elapsed behind six points from Borovnjak.

Borovniak, a senior from Servia, opened the game with 5-for-5 shooting.

"My teammates did a great job of finding me today," Borovniak said. "I was just trying to find open areas to help my teammates down low. But again, their bigs did a great job today. I give them a lot of credit."

Penn State just as abruptly went cold while Michigan found its scoring touch, answering the Nittany Lions' early run a 16-2 surge that led to a 19-16 lead after Stauskas' trey with 9:59 left in the half.

Michigan led the rest of the way, opening a 35-26 advantage with 3:23 left on another Stauskas 3-pointer. But Penn State scored seven unanswered points in the final three minutes to close the halftime tap to 35-33.

The Wolverines restored some distance early in the second half and opened 54-47 lead on Horford's rebound tip-in with 12:17 left.

Less than two minutes later Michigan was in command with after an 12-0 run opened a 62-47 lead after a Horford 3-point play.

"That second-half run that they made on us, we couldn't respond and we couldn't get stops," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "Their bigs did a tremendous job today. I think that was really the difference. The bigs finished. They hurt us on the offensive glass as well."

NOTES: Michigan improved to 13-14 all-time in Big Ten tourney play and won its first-round game for the seventh straight season ... The Wolverines' four turnovers tied a Big Ten tourney record for fewest in a game ... Although Penn State was the tourney's bottom seed, the Nittany Lions have been successful against Michigan -- at least at the United Center. Penn State beat Michigan in first round games in Chicago in 2000 and 2001. Penn State also reached the 2011 Big Ten title game before falling to Ohio State ... Michigan received numerous post-season awards including Burke's citation as Big Ten player of the year and joined Hardaway on the league's first team. It was the first time since 1994 (Jalen Rose Juwan Howard) when Michigan had two first teamers ... Burke, who averaged 19.2 points and 6.9 assists, is finalist for five top national player of the year awards ... Penn State's Big Ten honorees included junior Jermaine Marshall and sophomore D.J. Newbill, both honorable mention ... February was a record month for the Big Ten Network, which reported its highest primetime rating ever with a .88 household rating. The jump was fueled by a 33 percent increase in men's basketball in Nielsen Media Research metered markets compared to February 2012.
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