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Michigan clinches Big Ten crown with rout of Illinois

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 
five assists. 

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 
22-point margin. 

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 
the season. 

                                   Game Notes 

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. 

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