ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan's return to playing tough
defense put the Wolverines back in the win column.
Michigan's defense played a big role in snapping a three-game
losing streak for the Wolverines (17-6, 7-5 Big Ten), who had given
up 272 points over their previous three games.
"We certainly have struggled in our previous games," said
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker. "Our defensive effort and intensity
tonight were tremendous. We had a great team effort on the
After Minnesota tied it at 2, Michigan blew the game open with
one of its best halves of the season. The Wolverines allowed the
Gophers to connect on only three of their first 17 field-goal
Michigan was equally impressive on offense, hitting 10 of its
first 13 field-goal attempts -- including five of six 3-pointers --
while taking a 31-6 lead. The Wolverines led by as many as 29
points three times during the opening half.
"That's pretty good," said Horton. "I looked up at one point
and we were up 35-6. I don't think you can start a game too much
better than that.
"That's the way we feel like we're supposed to defend. That's
supposed to be a given with this team that we're going to come out
and play good defense. It was pretty disappointing that we hadn't
done that the last few games."
The Gophers scored nine of the first 11 points of the second
half to cut their deficit to 46-29 with 16:21 left.
But Horton erased hopes of any Minnesota rally by scoring 10 of
Michigan's next 12 points to put the Wolverines up 58-33 with nine
minutes remaining. The closest the Gophers could get was 22 points
with 2:13 to play.
"We had to step it up, bring the intensity, the effort and the
hustle," Hunter said. "The key for us tonight was to jump on them
and continue to jump on them, and play well on the defensive end.
"When we play well defensively, we seem to feed off that on the
Vincent Grier scored 19 points for the Gophers (12-10, 3-8). The
loss ended a two-game winning streak for Minnesota, which has won
only one of its six Big Ten road contests.
"We ran into a team that was desperate today and we didn't
handle it very well," said Minnesota coach Dan Monson. "Michigan
really dictated both ends of the floor for extended periods of time
in the first 10-12 minutes.
"I didn't think we played too bad after that. But it's easier
to play the game when it's over, and it was virtually over."
Michigan, which entered the game last in the Big Ten in 3-point
field goal percentage defense, allowed Minnesota to hit only two of
15 3-point attempts. The Wolverines had given up 34 3-pointers in
their previous three games.
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