Michigan uses balanced attack to beat IllinoisFeb 13, 2012 - 1:27 AM Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - Tim Hardaway, Jr. led a balanced attack with 15 points, as No. 22 Michigan downed Illinois, 70-61, at Crisler Arena.
Trey Burke added 14 points, Evan Smotrycz had 13 and Zack Novak totaled 12 points with nine rebounds for the Wolverines (19-7, 9-4 Big Ten), winners in three of their last four.
Brandon Paul's game-best 21 points weren't enough for the Illini (16-9, 5-7), who skidded to their sixth loss in seven outings. Tyler Griffey clocked in with 18 points and Meyers Leonard pulled down 12 boards in defeat.
The Wolverines surged to victory thanks to an early run and only surrendered the lead once thereafter.
"We earned every part of that game. As soon as it started you could see their quickness was going to be a factor," said Michigan coach John Beilein. "I didn't like the pace of the game and we needed something to happen."
The Wolverines went on a 10-4 run kicked off by Hardaway's trey. Smotrycz added a triple plus a pair of free throws and Hardaway capped the burst with a layup for a 17-12 game just prior to the midway point of the first half.
Though Griffey's bucket moments later gave Illinois a 20-19 edge, an 11-1 run ensued, during which Smotrycz bookended with two foul shots and a three- pointer to give the hosts a 30-21 edge.
Michigan led by nine once more, 37-28, on another Hardaway make from beyond the arc, but Griffey responded before the break to get Illinois within six.
A Stu Douglass bucket less than seven minutes into the second half provided a 10-point edge for the hosts. It would reach as high as 14, at 58-44 with 6:55 to play after a Jordan Morgan jumper, before the Wolverines coasted home.
Leonard scored the game's first four points and Paul hit from long distance as the Illini were up 7-2 inside with just over 3 1/2 minutes played.
Michigan has reeled off 15 straight wins at home...Illinois has lost its last three against the Wolverines...The hosts shot 50 percent (23-of-46) from the floor and 7-of-16 from beyond the arc, while holding the Illini to 39 percent efficiency...Paul committed a game-high seven turnovers in defeat.
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