EVANSTON, Ill. -- Michigan opened its Big Ten season with a bang Thursday, and the second-ranked Wolverines have no plans to let up.
Michigan scored early and often in a 94-66 romp over Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
"We had everything going tonight, everyone played well, and that's what happens when you play well," said Wolverines coach John Beilein, whose team improved to 14-0. "(But) we're always working like we're hunting, and we don't ever want to lose that."
It was a dramatic change from 2011-12, when the Wolverines and Wildcats battled through two overtime games before Michigan prevailed in each on the way to a share of the Big Ten regular-season title.
On Thursday, the overmatched Wildcats (9-5) trailed 10-0 even as the 8,117 fans settled in. Michigan led by 20 points after 10 minutes.
Trey Burke scored 23 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21 as the Wolverines improved on the program's second-best-ever start in front of a crowd with a decidedly Michigan tilt.
Jordan Morgan added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Wolverines, while Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas each scored 10.
"All their guys made shots. It was a tough night for us," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said.
Michigan was productive from beyond the 3-point arc, hitting long-range shots early and often. The Wolverines went 13-for-22 (59.1 percent) on 3-point attempts for the game.
Jared Swopshire and Kale Abrahamson each had 11 points for Northwestern, while Alex Olah and Tre Demps added 10 apiece.
The Wolverines led by as many as 32 points in the second half. Their smallest advantage after halftime was 17.
Hardaway Jr., who is averaging 15.8 points, was back in the starting lineup after missing Michigan's final non-conference game against Central Michigan on Saturday.
The big early scorer was Burke, the team's scoring leader at 17.8 points per game, who made a bid to match that with 13 points in the first 4:58.
"He's a good player, that's why everybody's talking about him as being one of the front-runners for player of the year," Northwestern guard Alex Marcotullio said. "He does a lot of things that make his teammates better, and there's not one thing you can take away from him because he can do everything."
The Wolverines went 4-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc in the first eight minutes, and Burke accounted for three of those baskets.
"We just had some defensive breakdowns and that hurt us early," Northwestern guard Dave Sobolewski said. "I actually thought we matched up with them pretty well size-wise."
Hardaway then started hitting from long distance, making back-to-back 3-pointers in a 31-second span as Michigan's lead grew to 33-13 at the 9:59 mark.
The Wolverines maintained a comfortable lead on the way to a 51-30 advantage after 20 minutes behind 15 points from Burke and 12 from Hardaway.
Northwestern was without No. 2 scorer Drew Crawford, sidelined following season-ending shoulder surgery last month. The Wildcats' scoring leader, Reggie Hearn (13.5 points), missed his second consecutive game after twisting an ankle Dec. 21.
Carmody said Hearn might be ready to play Sunday at No. 9 Minnesota.
"I really feel bad that Northwestern has been hit with so many injuries," Beilein said. "Those are huge losses. If we lost people like that, we'd have the same issues -- inexperience in playing in the Big Ten."
Last winter, Michigan prevailed 66-64 at home on Jan. 11 and 67-55 on Feb. 21 in Evanston, both in overtime.
Thursday's game was only the second true road contest this season for Michigan, which beat Bradley 74-66 on Dec. 1 in Peoria, Ill. Other games away from home have been at neutral sites in New York and Brooklyn.
NOTES: Michigan's unbeaten non-conference start (13-0) and current 14-0 run are the best since the Wolverines opened at 16-0 in 1985-86 ... The Wolverines are one of four remaining undefeated teams. Duke, Arizona and Wyoming are the others -- though Arizona needed overtime Thursday to beat Colorado. ... Northwestern freshman Demps has averaged 12 points off the bench in the last four games of 2012 ... Over the next six games the Wildcats will face four teams ranked among the nation's Top 11 this week starting Sunday at No. 9 Minnesota ... The Wolverines' undefeated run has earned sixth-year coach Beilein midseason coach of the year honors, announced this week by CollegeInsider.com ... Michigan freshman Stauskas led the country in 3-point shooting at 56.6 percent (39 of 69) entering Thursday and was cited as Big Ten Freshman of the Week, his third such honor this season. He's also the conference's top freshman scorer with a 13.8 point average. He shot just 2-for-7 from long range Thursday. ... Although he's out for the season, Northwestern's Crawford is among five Big Ten contenders for the Senior CLASS award that honors a senior for notable achievements in the community, classroom, competition and character. ... Michigan resumes action Sunday with a home game against Iowa.