Champaign, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Nik Stauskas netted 24 points as the 12th-
ranked Michigan Wolverines clinched their first outright Big Ten regular
season title since 1985-86 with a dominant 84-53 triumph over Illinois at
State Farm Center.
"We came with that mindset, this was our championship and we wanted to win
it," Stauskas said.
Stauskas hit a career-best seven 3-pointers on nine attempts for Michigan
(22-7, 14-3 Big Ten), which shot 16-of-23 from distance as a team in its
fourth straight win. The 16 made triples matched a school record, set earlier
this year in a win over Houston Baptist.
Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III added 15 and 13 points, respectively, with
Derrick Walton Jr. contributing nine points, seven rebounds and a game-high
Heading into the contest, Illinois (17-13, 6-11) had held four straight
opponents under 50 points. The Wolverines had 52 points at halftime.
"Their kids made shots," Illinois head coach John Groce said of Michigan.
Rayvonte Rice had 16 points to pace the Fighting Illini, who saw their three-
game winning streak come to a blinding halt.
Michigan quieted the rowdy Senior Night crowd right off the bat, with all five
starters scoring before the first media timeout. Kendrick Nunn had seven by
himself, however, including a 3-pointer that hit every part of the rim before
falling through, to keep Illinois within striking distance.
But then, the Wolverines found the range. Zak Irvin and Spike Albrecht came
off the bench and provided nine quick points via the 3-ball, with the former
hitting a pair of triples during a 19-4 run.
Michigan's lead grew to 22 late in the first half after a pair of Robinson
free throws, but Jon Ekey's layup sparked six straight points for the Illini.
Robinson ended the spurt with a trey from the top of the key, his first since
Feb. 11, and Stauskas beat the buzzer with an NBA-range triple to restore the
Michigan shot 11-of-14 from the arc and 67.9 percent overall during the
opening 20 minutes.
Rice's three-point play highlighted a 9-1 Illini surge that spanned nearly
five minutes during the early portion of the second half, but LeVert and
Stauskas hit back-to-back 3s to remove all hopes of a comeback.
The spread swelled to 76-43 at 5:44, which was Illinois' largest deficit of
Michigan has now won six straight against the Fighting Illini ... Michigan
closes out the regular season with a home test against Indiana ... Michigan
center Jon Horford grabbed 10 rebounds ... Nunn scored 14 for Illinois.