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Michigan 68, Northwestern 46

The SportsXchange

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Taking the floor as the nation's No. 1 team for the first time since 1992 proved no burden for Michigan, as the Wolverines breezed to a 68-46 victory over Northwestern on Wednesday.

Michigan, which moved into their top spot in the Associated Press rankings on Monday, continued the best start in program history by getting off to a fast start against the Wildcats at Crisler Center. The Wolverines (20-1, 7-1 Big Ten) hit 10 of their first 11 shots and never looked back.

Northwestern (12-10, 3-6) dropped its second consecutive league game.

Sophomore point guard Trey Burke paced Michigan, finishing with 18 points and eight assists. Burke committed only one turnover.

Joining Burke in double-figure scoring were freshmen Glenn Robinson III (13 points) and Nik Stauskas (11 points), along with redshirt sophomore forward Jon Horford, who scored 10 points in his second career start.

Freshman Mitch McGary, who split time with Horford in the post, grabbed a team-leading 11 rebounds and scored six points.

The leading scorers for the Wildcats, who shot 37.3 percent for the game, were 7-foot freshman center Alex Olah (10 points), forward Jared Swopshire (eight) and guard Reggie Hearn (seven).

Michigan played a nearly flawless first half, streaking to a 36-21 advantage. The Wolverines did not turn the ball over a single time in the half, and they did not pick up their first personal foul until McGary was caught reaching in while attempting a steal with less than a minute remaining before the break.

Burke led the Wolverines with 10 points and six assists in the first half, while Stauskas and Robinson made their offensive impact from the outside and inside, respectively. Stauskas was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc before halftime, and Robinson went 4-of-4 from the floor, including a pair of dunks. As a team, Michigan shot 60.9 points for half, compared to 40.9 percent for the Wildcats, who tried half their shots from 3-point distance.

Three Northwestern players -- Hearn, Dave Sobolewski and Alex Marcotullio -- paced the team with five first-half points apiece. The Wildcats, who have struggled in Big Ten play, connected on just three of their 11 3-point attempts before halftime.

NOTES: After consecutive road losses, Northwestern will return home Saturday to play Purdue, while Michigan will enter the most challenging stretch of its schedule. Following a trip to third-ranked Indiana on Saturday, Michigan plays host to No. 11 Ohio State, then travels to Wisconsin and plays at No. 13 Michigan State. ... Michigan was without starting forward Jordan Morgan, who injured his ankle at Illinois on Sunday. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Horford. ... The only Michigan player to struggle offensively in the first half was guard Tim Hardaway Jr. who shot 1-for-5. ... Northwestern committed two shot-clock violations in the first half.
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